Two Russian soccer stars are facing prison time for allegedly violently assaulting a government official at a Moscow café for his Korean ethnicity. Pavel Mamaev and Alexander Kokorin allegedly left Trade Ministry official Denis Pak suffering from a concussion in what has widely been condemned as a “racist” attack. Surveillance footage of the incident shows two men identified as Kokorin and Mamaev approach Pak at a table before Kokorin allegedly picks up a chair and slams it into his head. “They started to mock his ethnicity” and struck him when he made a comment, Pak’s lawyer, Gennady Udunyan, told Russian state media on Tuesday. “He has a concussion.” Another official, Sergei Gaisin, was also reportedly injured in the assault. Mamaev, a midfielder for Krasnodar, and Kokorin, a forward for Zenit St. Petersburg, also allegedly attacked the driver of a TV host in a separate incident on the same day. The Russian Premier League has condemned the attack and called for a harsh punishment, and Mamaev faces having his contract with Krasnodar terminated. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, said the Kremlin was aware of the “rather unpleasant” incident. The attack comes as Russia seeks to reform its reputation in the soccer world after a spate of racist incidents against non-white players over the last few years.
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