“Violation of human rights charter”: Putin’s cynical tribute to Russian athletes

Champagne reception in the Kremlin
“Violation of human rights charter”: Putin’s cynical tribute to Russian athletes

Vladimir Putin clink glasses with figure skater Kamila Valiyeva (middle left) in the Kremlin

© Mikhail Klimentyev / AFP

Russian athletes are banned from competitions around the world because of the war in Ukraine. At a champagne reception in the Kremlin, President Putin criticized the measure as violating the “fundamental rights of the Human Rights Charter”.

The almost complete exclusion from international competitions hits Russian athletes hard. Almost nobody wants to compete with them anymore, they have become pariahs of world sport. Most recently, the World Ice Hockey Federation withdrew the 2023 World Cup from Russia and the Russian tennis pro Daniil Medvedev, number two in the world, was banned from Wimbledon.

Nevertheless, Russian President and warlord Vladimir Putin uses every opportunity to harness the country’s athletes for propaganda purposes, for example when he had prominent athletes such as Olympic swimming champion Yevgeny Rylov wave from the stage during his speech at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.

To the champagne reception in the Kremlin

On Tuesday afternoon, the Kremlin invited the country’s top athletes to a champagne reception in order to demonstratively strengthen their backs. The president complained that their ban from international competitions was a great injustice: “The exclusion of the athletes from Russia and Belarus not only violated the basic principles of sport, but also openly and cynically violated the basic rights that the United Nations laid down in their 1948 Human Rights Charter “Putin said.

The Russian President also specifically mentioned the doping revelations surrounding figure skater Kamila Valiyeva at the Beijing Olympics. The then 15-year-old Valiewa had become a tragic case after she had been proven doping in the run-up to the games. She won gold in the team competition, after the revelation her nerves gave out in the individual competition and she supported several times.

Acceptance speeches by the athletes on state TV

Putin rejected the doping allegations: “Such perfection is impossible to achieve dishonestly, with the help of any additional means and manipulations; in figure skating, all additional means are unnecessary anyway,” he said.

Of course, the honor was not a one-sided event, the athletes themselves gave speeches of thanks to Putin, which were broadcast by state television. At a meeting with sports officials, Putin called for organizing their own games and also for participants from abroad. There had already been initial attempts, but the response was low.

Sources: DPA, “RTL Sports


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