Russians were asked how upset they were about the sporting sanctions imposed on their country
The majority of Russians are “upset” international sports bans imposed on their country’s athletes in response to the conflict in Ukraine, according to the results of a recent survey.
Conducted by the Russian Public Opinion Foundation, a study showed that 73% of respondents were harmed by the widespread sanctions applied to Russian athletes by federations of various sports. According to the same survey, 26% of respondents were “indifferent” to matter.
Russian athletes have found themselves sidelined following a recommendation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in late February that they should not be invited to global competitions where possible.
IOC President Thomas Bach told German media this week that almost six months later he was still “no time” consider lifting the bans.
Bach claimed that banning Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing in world events is partly for their own safety.
However, Russian officials and athletes have denounced the IOC’s stance as discriminatory and contrary to the position the sport should take free from political interference.
The Public Opinion Foundation survey, which interviewed 1,500 people at the end of July, also found that 50% of those polled would react “negatively” if a Russian athlete changed nationality to circumvent current bans; 39% said they would react with understanding and without condemnation.
Regarding athletes who leave Russia to pursue their careers but do not change their nationality, 55% of respondents said that they would not have any negative attitude, while 33% would not approve of such a decision.
The question of citizenship has become a hot topic in some Russian circles, with State Duma deputy Roman Teryushkov proposing that Russian sportsmen who change citizenship compete for “hostile” countries are considered guilty of treason.
The Kremlin has hinted it will not support such a law, while Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin has said he does not foresee a talent drain.
The survey, cited by RIA Novosti Sport, also noted that 72% of respondents believe Russian sports authorities should actively push for the re-admission of Russian athletes to international competitions, compared to 17% who said this course of action should not be prosecuted.
On the effect of sanctions on Russian sport – which has seen players like the men’s national football team denied the chance to qualify for the Qatar 2022 World Cup – 35% of those polled said suspensions would have a negative impact. A higher proportion – 41% – believe it will have no particular effect, while 10% said the bans might even have a positive impact.
Asked about their general impressions of how Russian sport has performed on the international stage over the past five to ten years, 65% said the country has achieved “with success,” while 16% of respondents took the opposite view.
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