Yegor Dugin: I had a rough childhood that matches with Chelyabinsk’s image

On Belarus and castles

Once recalling your tenure in Metallurg Zhlobin, you said you were impressed with ancient Belorussian castles. Have you been on several tourist trips between the games?
No, but we used to walk around the cities a lot. I was the most impressed with the city of Grodno which is 15 km from the Polish border. Grodno is like a little Europe; the city has magnificent architecture and ancient castles. I haven’t had the opportunity to go on a tour; in fact, I did not have a single day-off in almost two months. Besides, Zhlobin is not exactly tourist Mecca; the shopping mall and the stadium is all there is to see in this small town.

Typical Russian sees Belarus as a poor country with potatoes and Lukashenko’s dictatorship. What
Belarus have you discovered?
Compared to Russia, it has clearer air, better roads; people there are very friendly and kind-hearted. As for poverty, I would not say Belorussians are desperate for money; plus, I’ve been also trying to get used to Belorussian rubles. One Russian ruble equals 265 Belorussian ones; for instance, their shampoo costs 22 thousand rubles; a bar of chocolate is 13 thousand. A lot of calculations, don’t you think?

On industrial plants and Martin Grenier

After you returned to Chelyabinsk, you have had an interesting life – you play a lot of hockey and visit the industrial facilities. Being a man in his mid-twenties, do you feel like you have traveled to the parallel universe when you were at TPP-3 (Chelyabinsk’s Thermal Power Plant-3)?

No, it’s a modern facility, everything is clean and safe. However, we were at Chelyabinsk Metallurg Plant last year; now that’s a serious hardcore plant with heavy machinery and whatnot.

Which one of the public events organized by Traktor was the most interesting for you? TPP-3, pole vault with Dmitry Starodubtsev or something else?

I remember one day I was hungry and decided to go to McDonalds (I hadn’t played for Traktor back then). So I walk by the Kinomaks movie center and hear the famous song ‘Trus ne igrayet v hokkey’ (eng. ‘Cowards do not play hockey’). I walk into McDonalds and see a mountain of a man Martin Grenier towering over the counter. Grenier is smiling like a cat with his toothless smile, and beside him there’s a little guy. Turns
out it is Glinkin. So I walk to the counter, hand the money to Anton and say 'Two big macs, please!’ Poor Glina (Glinkin – editor’s note) had to take a leap to get the money (laughs).

On Movers and shakers TV show and Glinkin-sized pike

Many of today’s athletes tweet a lot and have social networks accounts. Do
you follow these trends?
Some five years ago I was an active user of social networks, but now I simply don’t have time for this.

Yegor’s phone goes off. Konstantin Klimontov’s calling and inviting him to a skirmish in an online FPS via iPad. Yegor somewhat begrudgingly says ‘A bit later, I’m doing an interview’ and hangs up.

Kostya, Gena Razin and I wanted to have at it online. Razin is also a gadget buff, by the way.

So you like video games?

Yes, I do, but often don’t have time to play them. When I do though, I love playing FIFA on Xbox 360; my favorites are Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter Milan. I don’t like NHL on Xbox because I’m a real noob in virtual hockey.

Your preferences in movies, TV shows, music?

I like the Movies and shakers TV show, watched all the seasons already. As for music, I would visit Grigory Leps’ and Basta’s (popular Russian singer and hip-hop artist respectively – translator’s note) concerts if I had an opportunity.

As far as I know, you like underwater fishing. Who did you learn that from?

My father taught to me to fish underwater. My dad and I often fish together at Uvildy lake in the summer. The water there is very clean and riddled with pike. I have not been successful thus far; however, my dad once hit a five feet and six kilo pike, close to Glinkin’s dimensions (laughs). It’s actually very interesting stuff; you swim underwater, see a bunch of seaweed and think to yourself ‘There’s a pike there, now I’m going to hit it’; so you take aim, shoot …and miss, or at least it often happens in my case.

Former Traktor’s defenseman Denis Bayev learnt how to box from a professional coach (he did not fare well in hockey fights though). From what I know, you used to do kickboxing while being in training camp in Canada, is that right?

Not quite. We did have exhausting three-hour training sessions with a focus on physical strength. The most difficult thing was to hold up near your belly a five-kilo ball stuffed with sawdust while your partner was hitting and kicking the hell out of it; basically you had to hold your breath so that your abs would not get crushed. It actually helped to get in great shape; but under no circumstances am I taking up kickboxing in Chelyabinsk; I appear on the ice to play hockey, not to get into fights.

On New Year and presents under New Year tree

Hockey players often don’t have childhood due to a large amount of matches and training sessions. What
about you?
was no exception. When I returned home from training sessions, I went to play soccer with my friends. Then I went back home, had a supper and went to sleep. Of course we did not do our homework; instead, I had a very useful book with ready-made home assignments. I also had an NES gaming console where I played Battle City. But all in all, my life was mostly about hockey. If the rink near our house was free, we played hockey; if not, we just had fun in the streets.

You must not have celebrated New Year due to all these training sessions and matches, right?

Actually, I’ve missed it just once. I had celebrated New Year at home until 17; then I began to get together with my friends to celebrate it. New Year for me is an ordinary holiday, like say Fatherland Defender’s Day. I never believed in Father Frost because I knew that the new skates that I would find underneath the New Year tree were my parents’ gift. So as you see, I had a pretty rough childhood that matched quite well with the image of Chelyabinsk.

Photo – Yaroslav Naumkov