They say sport and politics should never mix, but as Samara enjoyed a break from World Cup action on Friday, a visit to Joseph Stalin's top-secret bunker was an opportunity not to be missed.
The notorious dictator, who presided over the Soviet Union for 12 years in the mid-20th century, had the hideout constructed in the event of German invasion during World War Two.
Built 37 metres below street level, the bunker consists of a number of rooms - including a private office for the man himself - so that the top officials would have a safe retreat had Adolf Hitler's Nazis reached as far as Moscow.
Although that threat never quite materialised and Stalin remained defiantly in the capital, some of his government leaders were evacuated in 1941 and set up camp in Samara - then known as Kuybyshev - approximately 1,000 kilometres to the south-east.
And 77 years later, on the anniversary of Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union, football fans from around the world queued up to get a glimpse of the underground hideaway.
Used today’s down time to take in a visit to Stalin’s bunker, built 37 metres underground as a hideout from the threat of German invasion. pic.twitter.com/G1TQIvtfed— Harry West (@West1882) 22 June 2018
Squeezing past each other on the narrow stairways, supporters from Australia - who saw their side draw with Denmark at Samara Arena on Thursday - and Uruguay, who face the hosts at the same venue on Monday, stopped to take pictures of the conference room, Stalin's personal office and other areas adorned with information displays.
Tour guide Helen Konovalova, of the Samara Tourist Board, explained the bunker was kept under such strict secrecy that its existence was only uncovered when the Soviet Union broke up 50 years later.
"This bunker was constructed in top secret so nobody knew about it until 1991, only when the regime changed in our country, and we were really surprised to see such a unique construction in the city centre," she told Omnisport.
"Besides, the bunker still belongs to the army, you can't come just any day you wish and visit it as a museum. You have to book your visit beforehand and get permission to come....only [now people can come] for the FIFA World Cup, so now everybody who wishes can come here and visit the bunker.
"And people who live in Samara, locals, they've heard nowadays everybody can come here so not only foreigners but Russian speaking tourists now come to the bunker."
And Konovalova says the residents of Samara hope the bunker, although an unusual tourist attraction, will inspire people to encourage others to look upon Russia as a destination worth visiting, even after the World Cup bandwagon has packed up and moved on.
"After the World Cup we really hope that people would like to return to our country and our city and tell their relatives and friends that Russia is a good country to go to!" she added.
"The main aim of the bunker is to tell our generation about such a tragic event in our history because we mustn't forget about such events, to prevent our future from such awful things that our politicians sometimes do."
|Mina ready to reject offers for Barcelona stay|
|Guardiola tells Sane to use World Cup snub as motivation|
|Golovin team-mate Chepchugov drops hint over Chelsea move|
|Reed & Rose make early charges on Carnoustie ´moving day´|
|Sancho ´had a point to prove´ in Dortmund´s win over Manchester City|
|Li hits back at AC Milan owners Elliott as bitter split continues|
|Crusaders cruise past Sharks to book Hurricanes semi-final|
|Rabiot would be a great signing for Barcelona – Xavi|
|JaVale McGee: Lakers are going to be ´one of the most fun teams ever´|
|Dolphins owner Ross: National anthem policy a ´placeholder´|
|Boga leaves Chelsea for Sassuolo|
|Schurrle in talks to leave Borussia Dortmund|
|Guardiola happy with Mahrez and Man City despite loss|
|Dodgers top Brewers in Machado´s debut|
|Raptors GM apologises to DeRozan after Spurs trade|
|Manchester City 0 Borussia Dortmund 1: Gotze spoils Mahrez´s debut in ICC opener|
|United fans keeping De Gea at Old Trafford – Herrera|
|Keita: I turned down Barca and Bayern for Liverpool|
|Merritt stays ahead as rain halts Barbasol Championship|
|Roma had to sell Alisson to Liverpool, says Totti|
|Donald Trump: Kneeling players should be suspended without pay|
|Cardinals´ Carpenter makes history|
|Nationals pair Strasburg, Zimmerman activated from DL|
|Premier League-linked Plattenhardt feels at home at Hertha|
|Johnson expecting tough Granollers challenge|
|Good Luck at last! Colts quarterback fit for training camp|
|Haase humbles Rublev as Cecchinato charges on|
|Benzema hits back at ´crazy´ De Laurentiis over age jibe|
|Leeds Rhinos finally end winless streak in Super League|
|No freaky Friday for Spieth as he bounces back in round two|
|Double boost for Bouchard in Gstaad|
|Iconic Ronaldo to raise Serie A level - Roma´s Hamm|
|Brighton birthday boy March renews contract|
|Lamela hoping injuries are behind him after signing Tottenham extension|
|Where will I get my massage? - Roma´s Pallotta mocks UEFA ban|
|Rashid struck by Lightning amid speculation over Test recall|
|Major misses a mixed blessing for Fowler and Kuchar|
|Fleetwood, McIlroy and Spieth bare teeth as Kisner and Johnson lead|
|The Open 2018 diary: Fleetwood´s swinging in the rain, but it´s a slog for McIlroy|
|Fees agreed as Fabri closes in on Fulham move|
|Neymar and Mbappe have a very good relationship, claims PSG president|
|Boufal joins Celta Vigo on loan from Southampton|
|Leicester sign Ward from Liverpool amid Schmeichel speculation|
|Kisner philosophical after run-in with the Barry Burn|
|Gattuso unsure of Bonucci future|
|Verdasco, Gasquet advance but Ruud´s run is over in Bastad|
|James to remain at Bayern Munich, says Rummenigge|
|Texans QB Watson expects to be fit for training camp|
|Torpedo Moscow deny cancelling player´s contract over racist abuse|
|Napoli decry Cavani, Di Maria rumours as fake news|
|Kisner feels the Burn, Spieth on the surge|
|Woods: I could have cleaned up my round|
|Lille swoop for free agent Fonte|
|Sagan completes hat-trick after bunch sprint|
|´Amateur´ DFB needs Lahm´s help - Rummenigge|
|Horner expects Ricciardo new deal ´pretty quickly´|
|Diakhaby swaps Monaco for Huddersfield|
|Tottenham´s Lamela signs to 2022|
|Atletico´s Rodrigo excited to wear Simeone´s 14|
|F1 Raceweek: Red Bulls steal show from Mercedes but Ricciardo to start from back|
|Fakhar hits historic double hundred as Pakistan thrash Zimbabwe|
|Roma president Pallotta hit with three-month UEFA suspension|
|Hamburg extend contract of coveted youngster Jann-Fiete Arp|
|Steady start for Kisner as Woods endures mixed day at Carnoustie|
|Zach Johnson: Dustin comparisons are unfair|
|Neymar backs Tite for Brazil despite World Cup failure|
|Vinicius wants to play with ´idol´ Neymar but Perez calms transfer talk|
|One hundred not out for Els at The Open|
|Magnificent Maharaj takes eight wickets to stymie Sri Lanka|
|If I lose I´ll go down swinging - McIlroy ready for Carnoustie battle|