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Out of politics and out of conscience. IOC drags Russians into the international competition

The IOC will not be able to ignore the threat of a boycott of the Olympics and will be forced to decide on the possible participation of athletes from the Russian Federation shortly. This was conveyed by Dmytro Levus, an international political scientist and an expert at the analytical center United Ukraine in his commentary for the We are Ukraine TV channel.

There is no area that Russia does not perceive as a battlefield. And sports are generally a continuation of military confrontation. It would certainly not be a mistake to paraphrase an expression beloved by Russians, saying, "war is the continuation of politics by other means" to "sport is the continuation of war by other means." Russia generally perceives the world as a hostile environment. And if we remember the statement of the Cold War period, according to Russia, "the prestige of a country is determined by the number of missiles with nuclear warheads and gold medals at the Olympics". Sports, together with culture, create the "human face" of Russia and expand its contact zone in the international arena. Therefore, the current fluctuations of the International Olympic Committee around the possibility of admitting Russian and Belarusian athletes to international competitions are a multi-layered story.

Thomas Bach, a former German fencer who has been the head of the IOC for almost ten years, is a typical representative of the international sports bureaucracy on the one hand and the "Putinfersteiers" on the other. After the doping scandal in the All-Russian Federation of Athletics, it was Bach who pushed the Russian team's participation in the Olympics in Brazil in 2016. He received a lot of positive words from the Russian sports community, officials, and means of propaganda. And, most likely, it was not just good words. In the end, even the German press talked about Bach's Russophilism and the corruption component in his work, which allows Russia to fruitfully work with such characters. In addition, Bach was awarded the Order of Honor (Order of Honor) of Russia and the Belarusian Order of the Lukashenko National Committee.

The stubbornness with which Bach defends the decision on the need to admit Russian and Belarusian athletes to international competitions, even if he says that their performances should take place under the Olympic flag without national symbols and these should be those athletes who do not support the politics of their country, namely an aggressive war against Ukraine, looks not only disgusting but also somewhat funny. All the more so when the IOC, in his person, says that it is not possible to exclude athletes from competitions because "it does not correspond to the values and mission of the Olympic Charter." Especially after the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba cited data that out of the 71 medals that Russia won at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, 45 were won by those who belong to the sports structures of the Russian army and Rosguard. Nevertheless, Bach "continues to study the possibility of involving athletes from Belarus and Russia." Bach and the IOC ignore that then Ukraine might ignore the competition. At the same time, the talks of a possible future boycott are gaining momentum. Latvia has declared that it will not participate in the 2024 Olympics if there are athletes from Belarus and Russia and if the war in Ukraine continues at the time of the competition.

In general, the historical parallel with the eleventh Olympiad of 1936, which took place in Berlin, is self-evident. At that time, Germany had already been under Hitler's rule for three years. Since 1933, there has been a struggle to postpone the Olympics. In particular, Barcelona suggested postponing. In 1936, a conference was held in Paris where the incompatibility of the Olympic principles and the use of the Olympics to advance plans for aggression was declared. But the IOC commission found no reason to leave out Berlin. The Olympics became a successful stage for Hitler to popularize his ideas and demonstrate Germany's achievements. It is a place where many people's worries and common sense have fallen asleep. And how else? Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the Olympic movement himself, gave a speech there. Those who proposed a boycott were shocked. "Is Hitler preparing for war? Leave it, he is a modern politician, a humanist, and has common sense, otherwise, how would he have held such a wonderful Olympiad." The figure of the Olympics, Hitler managed to combine the power of propaganda and create an attractive monumental picture of Germany with himself at the head.

The two-part documentary Olympia directed by Leni Riefenstahl still covers the era of racial laws, concentration camps, and militarization in Germany with a haze of attraction, mystery, and strict aesthetics. The times of the prologue to the worldwide hellfire of the Second World War, in which millions burned. And that is why the question of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky to Thomas Bach on how he is going to protect sports from war propaganda if he returns Russian athletes to international competitions, is logical. And expectedly there is no answer from Bach. Therefore, Zelensky emphasizes, "There is no neutrality when such a war continues. And we know how often tyrannies try to use sports for their ideological interests. Any neutral flag of Russian athletes is stained with blood. I do not want to get into what exactly motivated Mr. Bach to promote such an initiative. But we will do everything so that the world will protect sports from political and any other influence of the terrorist state, which is simply inevitable if Russian athletes participate in competitions. And even more so - at the Paris Olympics." It is unlikely that Bach will take advantage of the invitation of the President of Ukraine to visit Bakhmut on the front line. After all, for many officials, "sport is outside of politics". But times have changed. They will not be able to ignore the threat of a mass boycott of the Olympics.

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