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‘A Kangaroo Court’: Expert Weighs in on Russia’s Olympics Ban

© Sputnik / Ramil Sitdikov / Go to the photo bankOlympic Park in Pyeongchang
Olympic Park in Pyeongchang - Sputnik International
The International Olympic Committee has banned Russia from the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, though ‘clean’ Russian athletes will be able to compete at the games under a neutral flag. Radio Sputnik discussed what’s behind the IOC's decision with Jon Hellevig, a business consultant and economic and political observer from Finland.

Q: Do you think that Russian athletes will actually agree to participate in the Olympics under a neutral flag?

The Olympic rings are seen on the facade of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) building in Moscow - Sputnik International
Putin: Russia's Suspension from Olympics is Politically Motivated
A: We have now had very much response from social media, media experts and people voicing their opinion, and I think it's pretty uniform that some 90-95 percent of the Russian population is absolutely against that. This part of the Cold War, it's waging the war by so-called "soft power" methods and therefore the Russian leadership has to tackle the situation in line with their long-term, broad strategies. They might not want to go for the full-on boycott, but the situation is now precarious, because the people are so uniformly for a boycott, and the elections are coming up, so this puts the president in a very difficult place.

Q: Don't you feel sorry for the athletes that are going to be missing out? Because lot of them trained for years and this is perhaps their only Olympics or, you know, the last Olympics in which they could have participated and could have a good chance of winning. Is there any chance there might be a way to appeal the IOC decision?

A: The IOC has acted in the capacity of a kangaroo court from the very beginning: they fabricated allegations, they fabricated evidence, and they made a totally unjust decision. From a process which is totally unjust you cannot expect an appeal to function.

Q: Who wins in these kind of situations, who gets the benefits? I can imagine a lot of athletes from other countries, if they get the gold medal, they won't feel like they really got the gold medal, because not all of the contenders were participating. In the case of Russian athletes choosing not to participate under a neutral flag, they will think "was I really the best athlete that year or was there a Russian athlete that was better?"

A: The whole thing is about intimidating Russia and to turn the Russian population against the president and the elected government, but one observer has very well put it that here is the law of unintended consequences — that is, like, who benefits? Those who initiated this attack on Russia will not win, because Russian people have seen so clearly that the intentions of the Western elite are not well-minded towards Russia, that they want to stop Russia from development as an equal and partner in the world order.

Q: Do think that there is any visible end to this anti-Russian hysteria, and to what extent do you really link it to the 2018 presidential elections in Russia?

A: Well, I wouldn't say it's specifically about the elections, it is — in a broader context — against Russia. As to when will this anti-Russian hysteria end, I think "by the time we build new multipolar world order." And this is actually what this is all about: the older US-led world order is approaching its death, it's in its death clutches, and this is the desperate move to pull all the plugs to do all the harm that they can imagine against Russia, because they cannot militarily win Russia, they cannot break Russia's economic backbone. It's just the question of doing the last harassment in the time they have — five or 10 years more.

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