We'll say this about Russia: It has established a brand and executed a plan to grow the brand into something world-renowned and maintained the brand very well.
What is Russia's brand you ask? Oh, you already know. "Crazy stuff happens here." "It's like if Florida was cold and a country." "Anything can happen at any time and everyone is miserable."
Well, Russia performed a little brand maintenance over the weekend, and if you thought "I bet this involves a bear doing something bears don't normally do," congratulations, you are correct and also clearly familiar with Russia's brand. A bear handed the referee the match ball at a third division contest and then hung around and did bear stuff to fire up the crowd. No one was mauled by the bear. As far as we know.
— Mark Bullen (@markgbullen) April 16, 2018
We will not read too much into the rumors that the bear will perform this particular trick at the World Cup because we're pretty sure Vladimir Putin is going to be the main match ball presenter this summer. Maybe while wearing a bear suit? It could happen. Anything could happen because Russia.
If Russia really wants to stay on brand here, it'll play the bear in goal at the World Cup.