The world of sports avoids Russian President Vladimir Putin. And what?

Russia is already paying the price for its aggression. Countries around the world are imposing sanctions, and the Russian ruble has fallen even more against the dollar, reaching a record low.

“The situation, of course, is monstrous. “This is a disgrace to the International Paralympic Committee,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters after the decision.

The IOC also announced that it had recalled the Olympic medal from Putin, the highest award of the Olympic movement.

“The IOC was considered a close ally of Russia,” Michael Payne, the former head of IOC marketing, told CNN.

“The fact that the IOC has now imposed a number of sanctions on Russia, which I think are by far the strongest sanctions ever imposed by the IOC, probably since the early 1960s, when the IOC banned South Africa. For apartheid regime. ,” he said.

At the same time, the governing body of world football – FIFA – the body of European football – UEFA – suspended “until further notice” all Russian international club teams from their competitions.
Vladimir Putin hits football during an event on June 28, 2018 in Red Square in Moscow.

“Vladimir Putin was passionate about the use of both sports and sports to show Russia’s strength in the world arena and to give the Russian people a sense of pride for their success on the world stage.”

Payne added that the most immediate effect of sanctions could be to challenge the Kremlin’s history of conflict, when ordinary Russians wonder what happened to the events they were supposed to host.

UEFA announced last month that this year’s Champions League final will no longer take place at St. Krestovsky Stadium in St. Petersburg, which is sponsored by Russian state-owned Gazprom, and will now be moved to the Stade de France in Paris to play at the stadium. The starting date is May 28.

“There can be no misunderstanding. “No Russian media outlet can explain what is happening in the sports world, that they were suddenly expelled,” Payne said.

Russia covers the invasion of Ukraine very differently from CNN and other Western media outlets. The new law prohibits Russian media outlets from using the words “war”, “attack” or “invasion” to describe Putin’s decision to unleash his forces against Ukraine. Instead, they should use the Kremlin’s Orwellian phrase “special military operation.”

Russians’ access to social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, has also been severely restricted.

“Sanctions can make ordinary Russians ask why they can not see the performances of their Russian athletes. And it is clear that the Russian people are being pushed to say, “What is going on?” Payne said.

“Will Putin be interested in returning his Olympic gold medal or what the international community thinks of him?” Probably not.

“Will he be interested in what all the local Russians say, ‘Wait, what’s going on?’ Absolutely”.

Sport as a nationalist tool

Lucas Obin, an associate researcher at the French Institute for International Strategic Affairs (IRIS) and a Russian geopolitical sports expert, told CNN Sport that Putin is carefully developing his image so that observers are aware of his sportsmanship in national sports. և Internationally.

“When Putin came to power in 2000, one of his first decisions was to invite his former judo coach. [to the Kremlin],” he said.

The Russian Prime Minister was pictured swimming in the ice, fishing and riding barefoot.

Putin attends a gala meeting of the Night Hockey League teams at the Bolshoi Ice Arena on May 10, 2017 in Sochi, Russia.

“Today, President Putin uses sport as an element of his power. And not just as part of his personality, as he has created a great sports system. He uses oligarchs, politics, former athletes to build cars.

“It’s a big system where people [are] “In the directions pushed by Putin, which they need to create a beautiful image of Russia in the world of sports,” he added.

That worked for the most part, Obin said.

“It happened because we are watching the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Then four years later we see the World Cup. It is really difficult to say how many international sporting events Russia has. [has] has been hosted for the last 10 years, that’s a lot. “In the beginning it was a huge element of soft power,” Obin added.

Vera Toltz, a professor of Russian studies at the University of Manchester, told CNN Sport that Putin had used “instrumental, very systematic” Russian nationalism as a way to legitimize his regime since he came to power.

Winter Paralympic Games.  Ukrainian athletes' thoughts are on those struggling to invade their homeland as they enjoy golden success in Beijing

“Nationalism, the kind of national unity that preaches certain versions of history, organizes, defines new national holidays, and, of course, sport, has been absolutely key to its legitimacy strategy,” he said, adding that such a tactic had long since begun. . to the Soviet era, where sport “was used very intensively as a tool to build the people’s loyalty to the regime.”

“Even the fact that the Kremlin, Russia, has taken such steps to use doping to win more medals, somehow shows how competing, winning, winning are key to Putin’s” People’s Mobilization “strategy. “It was,” Toltz added. .

In 2019, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) unanimously agreed to ban Russia from major international sports competitions, including the Olympics and the World Cup, for four years for non-compliance with doping.
The ban was later halved by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in 2020.

WADA’s punishment refers to a discrepancy in the data taken by WADA from a Moscow laboratory in January 2019 at the center of the 2016 McLaren report, which revealed a large, complex state-sponsored sports doping network.

“Every time you allow Russia to take part in an international sporting event, you are basically agreeing to swim with a cannibal shark. They will deceive your athletes, they will not feel bad about it, they will get it if they are caught. “They will accuse you of saying that,” Jim Walden, an American lawyer for Grigory Rodchenkov, who played a key role in uncovering Russia’s original cover, told CNN.

Ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, Putin spoke of his frustration with the “politicization of sport” and that “the rights and interests of our athletes must be protected from any arbitrariness.”

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) was initially considered inappropriate after the publication of the McLaren report in 2016.
Putin is watching the opening ceremony of the 2022 Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

The report, commissioned by WADA, found that the Russian state had conspired with athletes’s sports officials to carry out a doping program that was unprecedented in its scope and ambitions.

“Putin uses his control over sports a lot, trying to play the world – to win as much as possible, as he develops the content for the people of Russia, so that he can gain maximum popularity, which means maximum power to do what he wants. at the international level. “Russia is, in fact, opposed to the rest of the world, at least to the Western world.”

Very soon, until 2022, another doping scandal involving Russian figure skater Camilla Vali overshadowed the Beijing Winter Olympics.

15-year-old Valija, the leading star of the Games, who received the highest score in the figure skating team tournament, was allowed to compete, despite the positive results of the banned heart drug trimetazidine, which is commonly used to treat people with angina. The failed test took place before the Winter Olympics, but was only revealed during the Games.

“Russia is not only short-sighted about winning at any cost, but at any cost, it is not forbidden, is it?” Thus, murder, bribery, drug trafficking, any kind of crime that will give them an advantage. They think not. “Only they will do it, but other people are too weak to follow the rules,” Walden said.

“So they associate crime with obstacles – they combine it with sports. And so they win backwards. And this is how the Russian government used it to protect its popularity in order to have more freedom to create chaos abroad. , “he added.

Trace of money

Olympic great Edwin Moses, who opposed the US boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics, went so far as to call on Russia to ban the 2024 Olympics.

“The boycott of 1980 was political. “It’s just awful,” said Moses, president of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, in a Laureus press release last week.

“It has little to do with politics, it has to do with humanity, war, war, the killing of children, innocent people, missiles, rockets, tanks, live on TV, so that’s all. is aware of that.

“I was in favor of banning the Russians because of what happened in Sochi in 2014 in order to really spoil the integrity of the Olympic Games through doping. I was in the Executive Committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency, I thought that the punishments are: too light

“What they are doing now in the whole world in Ukraine is exactly what they are doing with sports, in my opinion. Russia should be banned in Paris. [2024 Olympic Games]»:

Movses says he met with Putin a few years ago.

“I once sat next to him [a] table. Two seats to my left, with an interpreter in between. And I talked to him that whole evening. I know how he spoke of sports as if it were the Holy Grail, և how great և the sport was, և how good it was, where the best of all countries, regardless of your philosophy, could compete together, whoever wins, whoever wins “Now I understand, it was just a propaganda.”

CNN’s Ben Morse և Ben Church participated in the reports.

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