“Discrimination”, “neo-Nazism” | Moscow fires red bullets at the IOC

(Moscow) Russia accused the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Wednesday of “sloping into racism and neo-Nazism” and of being guilty of “discrimination” and “intimidation”, the day after the imposition of new restrictions to Russian athletes for the 2024 Olympics.

On Tuesday, the IOC for its part accused Russia of “politicizing sport”, criticisms made as Moscow aims to organize a competition competing with the Olympics, the Friendship Games.

The governing body of the Olympic Games also announced on Tuesday that Russian and Belarusian athletes, already forced to participate in the Olympic Games under a neutral banner, would not be able to parade during the opening ceremony on the Seine in Paris on July 26, news restriction imposed due to the assault launched against Ukraine by Russia, with the complicity of Belarus, more than two years ago.

The IOC also strongly criticized the Friendship Games that Moscow wants to organize in September in response to the sanctions.

The Kremlin and Russian diplomacy, always quick to see “Russophobia” in any restriction, did not temper their response.

Believing that the IOC was preparing to sanction foreign athletes wanting to go to the Friendship Games, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched into a particularly virulent indictment.

“These decisions demonstrate the extent to which the IOC has moved away from its declared principles and has fallen into racism and neo-Nazism,” insisted Maria Zakharova. Russia justifies its assault on Kyiv with unfounded accusations of “Nazism” against Ukrainian leaders acting with the supposed complicity of the West.

“Cynical attempt”

President Vladimir Putin is indeed seeking to inscribe the offensive he launched on February 24, 2022, into the legacy of the Second World War and the fight against Nazism.

The Kremlin also accused the IOC on Wednesday of seeking to intimidate athletes wishing to participate in future Friendship Games, as the Committee’s director of Olympic Solidarity, James Macleod, did not rule out the possibility of sanctions.

“It’s athlete intimidation. And this completely undermines the authority of the IOC,” said Dmitri Peskov, spokesperson for the Russian president.

The Committee has considerably hardened its tone against the “Friendship Games” which should be held in September in Russia, describing them as an event with “purely political motivation” and a “cynical attempt” to exploit athletes “for purposes of political propaganda.

Excluded from the Olympics as a state, sanctioned by the West, Russia is trying to create alternative economic, political and sporting events with allies.

Another reason for Russian anger on Wednesday is the fact that Russian and Belarusian athletes will not be able to parade at the opening ceremony of the Paris Olympics this summer.

This restriction is in addition to the obligation imposed on these athletes to participate under a neutral banner and on condition of not having openly supported the offensive against Ukraine.

Few in Paris

“The IOC’s decisions are illegal, unjust and unacceptable. We are scandalized by (these) unprecedented discriminatory conditions,” declared the spokesperson for Russian diplomacy.

“It is the destruction of the ideal of Olympism,” judged the Kremlin.

Stripped of their national colors, athletes from the two countries should be few in number: only 12 Russians and 7 Belarusians have so far qualified, out of the 6,000 tickets already allocated, explained James Macleod.

Experts from the Olympic body project, “according to the most likely scenario”, that 36 Russians and 22 Belarusians will overcome the qualification obstacle. But they will still have to submit to a “review committee”, which requires in particular that they did not actively support the Russian assault on Ukraine.

So far, Russia is not planning a protest boycott of the Olympics, the Minister of Sports said in mid-March. But the formal decision has not yet been taken.

Finally, the IOC recalled on Tuesday “the total lack of respect for global anti-doping standards” demonstrated by Moscow in the past, the authorities having orchestrated for years a state doping system which culminated during the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, which led to Russia being sanctioned at the Tokyo Games in 2021 and Beijing in 2022.

reference: www.lapresse.ca

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