The Russian Athletes’ Union pointed to the lack of sanctions for those who launched military operations in the past
The Russian Athletes’ Union has published a scathing attack on the sanctions imposed by world federations against Russian and Belarusian competitors, calling them “sports genocide”.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Monday recommended that Russian and Belarusian athletes be banned from competing internationally in all sports, or failing to perform as neutrals without their country’s national anthem or flag.
Many international sports federations have since followed the IOC’s call by imposing blanket suspensions and sanctions on Russian teams and athletes in light of the military campaign in Ukraine.
Reacting to the developments, the Russian Athletes’ Union said in a statement shared on the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) website that it “cannot and will not stay away from the situation associated with the unreasonable, inadequate and discriminatory sanctions that international sports authorities are now applying to all Russian and Belarusian athletes without exception.”
“Our organization brings together outstanding Olympians from different eras and generations, of different nationalities and backgrounds,” the statement read.
“Many of them were contemporaneous with global political crises, military conflicts and political moves. But always and everywhere, while adhering to and cherishing the Olympic traditions and values, the Olympic spirit and the unifying power of sport, they advocated for peace, equality and the strengthening of the Olympic community.
“The bombings and ethnic cleansing in Yugoslavia, the military operations in Iraq, in Afghanistan, the genocide in Africa, in Asia, in Latin America. This all happened a short time ago. NATO countries have played the role of masters of destiny almost everywhere, causing the deaths of thousands of people, including innocent civilians.
“But we do not recall that the international Olympic movement or Russian athletes took the initiative to ban their colleagues from countries directly involved in military operations on the territory of other states under one pretext or another,” said he added. added the statement.
The union said it felt the modern Olympic movement aimed to be an ambassador of “peace and goodwill” but that the numerous sanctions imposed on Russian and Belarusian athletes in recent days were a violation of their rights to compete.
“Before our eyes, a tragic destruction of the Olympic family, of which we have always been proud to be a part, is unfolding to satisfy political demands and biased outside influences,” he added.
“We are firmly opposed to the sports genocide of Russian and Belarusian athletes. We appeal to all responsible and involved people and organizations. Review your last decisions!
“From a historical point of view, they are disastrous for the Olympic community. And they make it clear that no athlete today can be confident in the protection and, even more, in the guarantee of his rights.
“If in the present we are unable to maintain unity and mutual understanding, then in the near future the most negative consequences of this confrontation await us”, concludes the statement.
The post echoes similar statements from Russian sports officials and athletes.
The Russian Olympic Committee’s Athletes’ Commission announced on Tuesday that it was boycotting a meeting organized by the IOC, citing what it called “ethnic discrimination” imposed on Russian and Belarusian athletes.
Russian athletes boycott Olympic meeting over ‘ethnic discrimination’