For Russian prostitutes, the World Cup-2018 football and its male audience has all the appearance of a boon. In fact, many of them will stay away from the event to escape the strong police pressure expected.

"Most of the brothels are closing, the police warn that those who remain open will do so at their own risk," says Irina Maslova, head of Serebriannaya Rosa, an association for the protection of human rights. prostitutes.

And in the end, only homes with strong enough protection within the police and authorities - in exchange for a portion of their income - will be able to exercise during the World Cup that opens Thursday until July 15 .

Russian prostitutes were praised as "the best in the world" by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Many prostitutes walked the streets during the 1990s, marked by a liberalization of morals and the impoverishment of many Russians following the collapse of the USSR.

In recent years, the authorities have gradually hardened their tone, forcing female sex workers to go into hiding. The sector was also hit hard by the 2014 financial crisis, causing a drop in demand and prices.

According to Ms. Maslova, "the authorities and anyone associated with them will be tougher with the so-called violators of the law and undesirable elements" during the World Cup.

Russia, which has invested billions in this event, wants to keep a clean and smooth image, she believes.

Macha, who practices in a "salon" in St. Petersburg, one of the host cities of the World, confirms that several brothels have closed, probably for not having agreed on the amount of the pot wine to pay the police.

At the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi (south), the police had handed out harsher fines than usual to prostitutes, with the courts sometimes going so far as to give them jail time for the Games.

In 2003, during the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg, Irina Maslova was kept in solitary confinement for 48 hours. Other women had been taken out of town during the festivities.

"To avoid this danger, to protect their lives, their health, their safety and sometimes their reputation, (the sex workers) will leave the city because being in a city where big events take place is simply impossible," says Ms. Maslova.

- English lessons -

If prostitution is illegal in Russia, strip-clubs are accepted and rub their hands, preparing for an increase in their income after several years of lean cow.

"We expect a large influx of customers, at least two or three times more than usual," says Lucky Lee, owner of the Golden Girls Club, in central Moscow.

In order to cope with a foreign clientele, the club offered English lessons to its employees. "These are ordinary English lessons, we discuss various topics: how to book a hotel, how to talk with customers," said Melanie, a 29-year-old stripper.

"It would be nice if there was more work during the championship ... everyone feels" the crisis, adds the young woman, who has been working for six years at the Golden Girls.

Until then oscillating between 4,200 and 8,500 euros, the wages of dancers ceiling today between 1,700 and 4,200 euros, explains Lucky Lee. It calls into question the sanctions imposed by Western countries after Russia's annexation of the Ukrainian Crimean peninsula in March 2014, which led to a fall in the Russian currency.

- A doll "this is not deceiving" -

In May, Dmitry Alexandrov opened in Moscow the first franchise of the Spanish Lumidolls Sex Hotel. Men pay 5000 rubles (70 euros) to spend an hour with a silicone doll and disproportionate breasts.

Like Lucky Lee and Melanie, he also hopes to increase the number of his customers thanks to the World Cup.

"Most of the fans will come without their half," he says, with Lolita and Alise, the two most popular models in his hotel. "Sex with dolls is not deceiving, in the majority of couples".

As a good businessman, he planned to wear the dolls of the shirt of the national team of the customer, if this one asks for it.

Venue at the inauguration of the Lumidolls Sex Hotel, Irina Maslova was pleased to see the inscription "First legal brothel" in Russia.

"It helps to make people think about this sentence," said the one whose association struggles to fully decriminalize the sex industry in the country.