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Post: From Emelianenko to Cherchesov: which of the Russian sports stars served in the army


The topic of conscription for military service unexpectedly became the hottest topic in Russian hockey this summer. It’s all about the arrest of the goalkeeper of the Russian national team Ivan Fedotov, who is suspected of evading military service.

The goalkeeper, who played for CSKA last season and is expected to start playing for the Philadelphia Flyers in the fall, is probably already in one of the military units. There are not many details of this unpleasant story. But it is clear that Ivan was not willing to go to the service in the prime of life before his debut in the NHL, because St. Immediately after training in St. Petersburg, he was forcibly detained and taken in an unknown direction.

If the people behind the decision to send the goalkeeper of the Russian national team to the army find their way, Fedotov will lose a year of his sports career against his will. But if in the history of Russian sports there are many famous athletes who have completed full-fledged military service under less mysterious circumstances.

Andrey Tikhonov

The favorite of Spartak fans, he managed to pay off his debt to his homeland even before he started his brilliant career in the Red-Whites camp. When Andrei was 18 years old, the future midfielder played for Vympel Kaliningrad. It was then that he received a call to the military registration and enlistment office. Tikhonov decided not to make excuses and not go to the army. Also, his prospects in big football at that time were uncertain as he had not passed the tryout in CSKA’s second team shortly before that.

In those days, military service lasted two years, which Tikhonov honestly lasted. He had to go a long way from his native Kaliningrad to his unit. The athlete was assigned to the village of Novobiryusinsk, located 300 kilometers from Krasnoyarsk. The most surprising thing is that Andrei stayed in a colony!

The fact is that the 18-year-old Tikhonov on duty had to protect the prisoners in prison.

“This experience helped with character building. But I think professionals should be sent there, not kids. We had a district where we watched 12-14 people. The watchman,” Tikhonov said in an interview with

During the service, Andrei also caught hepatitis, for which he was treated there. According to the athlete, in the end, the illness did not affect his health in any way and did not prevent him from building a long and successful career in football.

Fedor Emelianenko

The Last Emperor’s biography also includes two years of conscription. Emelianenko was drafted into the army in 1995 before embarking on a mixed martial arts career. True, by that time Fedor had been engaged in sambo and judo for several years.

During his service, Emelianenko exchanged two types of troops. First, the future fighter was sent to the fire brigade in Krasnogorsk, from which Fedor often had to leave to put out fires. Then he was transferred to Nizhny Novgorod, so the athlete ended up in a tank company.

Fedor Emelianenko - DEA Novosti, 1920, 07/04/2022
Fedor Emelianenko

In the army, Fedor did not stop playing sports and began to actively work with the iron, pulling weights and lifting dumbbells every day. During these two years, he managed to gain serious muscle mass. The warrior was lucky to have the time to do so. Indeed, during his service, the First Chechen War was in full swing, but Emelianenko passed the possibility of traveling to a hot spot.

Vadim Khamuttskikh

At the age of 15, Khamuttskikh found himself in a boarding school of the Olympic reserve, and by his age began to be called up to the Russian national volleyball team. When military age came, Vadim received a summons. Often such problems were resolved by entering a sports company, but everything suddenly turned out differently.

The future three-time Olympic medalist in volleyball ended up in a construction battalion. Vadim had to build houses, work as a bricklayer and carpenter. The first part of his service took place near Plesetsk, but later he had to relocate.

The construction battalion with Khamuttskikh was sent to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant site to deal with the consequences of the disaster. The army was then recruited as volunteers so they would join the ranks of the liquidators and get into the hardest part of the job. However, Vadim refused to serve in his unit.

Perhaps it was the service in such a dangerous area that led to the early death of the Khamutskys. The multiple medalist of the European volleyball championships died of cardiac arrest six months ago at the age of 53.

Senior coach of VK Belogorye Vadim Khamuttskikh - RIA Novosti, 1920, 07/04/2022
Vadim Khamuttskikh

Dmitry Cheryshev

The former football player of the Russian national team and the father of the former player of Real Madrid spent two years of his life in the military. Cheryshev Sr. went to the army at the age of 20. On the striker’s account at that time there were only a dozen games for Dzerzhinsky Lokomotiv, and a strong career prospect did not fully stand out.

Like many other athletes, Dmitry was supposed to get into the sports company, but everything did not go according to plan. Cheryshev was sent to a tank division, where he spent several years of his youth. All this time he has not had a single opportunity to touch the ball. After such a long hiatus, the midfielder never dreamed of returning to football.

But after the army, coach Valery Ovchinnikov, who called the midfielder to Nizhny Novgorod Lokomotiv, believed him. Cheryshev managed to restart his career and soon found himself in the championship of the Spanish and Russian team.

Roman Vlasov

An absolutely incredible story happened to a Greco-Roman wrestler. Ten years ago, Vlasov became the Olympic champion, winning a gold medal at the Games in London. Shortly after the victory, Roman returned to his homeland and went to the draft board, asking for conscription!

Olympic champion Roman Vlasov takes oath - RIA Novosti, 1920, 07/04/2022
Roman Vlasov swears

The titled wrestler was accepted into the Siberia-based Yermak special forces unit. Vlasov was allowed to train and prepare for competitions, but nevertheless, the differences with the sports company were significant, and Roman’s life was as close as possible to the service of an ordinary conscripted soldier.

“I am grateful to fate that I met great people in the army, went to the end. Service in the army made me stronger. I am still a representative of the internal troops. My rank is lieutenant,” Vlasov said after his demobilization.

The service had no effect on Roman’s sports career. Three years after its completion, she again climbed the Olympic podium and became the winner of the Rio Games in 2016.

Stanislav Cherchesov

The former coach of the Russian national football team also served in the army. Didn’t you think his comparisons with the field commander were taken from the void? In his youth, Cherchesov was recruited into the artillery, which he later recalls repeatedly.

“Discipline may be different. I know this because I myself served in the army and we were given discipline orders. But discipline from above doesn’t always work. Players need internal discipline too. We don’t want to follow anyone. We don’t want to look. Players have to understand everything themselves.” said Cherchesov while working for the national team.

In the speeches of Stanislav Salamovich, the past of the army slipped many times, which only softened his character. Cherchesov admitted that he warmly remembers his time spent in the army.

Sergey Kharitonov

“I have served!” Another Russian warrior who can say. Kharitonov gave the airborne troops a year of his life. Sergei made his debut in martial arts while still at the Ryazan school.

For one year of service, my entire worldview was turned upside down. We studied, we parachuted, we shot – we became defenders of the Fatherland. I suddenly became independent. It would be difficult for me to adapt at the institute. And he did it instantly. There you are immediately shaken and put back in place. No matter how strong you are. Kharitonov believes that an army is necessary for a young man.

At the same time, Sergei in a vest and a blue beret does not go to fights. According to him, it is wrong to wear a paratrooper uniform with sponsor logos.

Source: Ria

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