Belarus strongman Alexander Lukashenko: Was it a mistaken

precedent to ban him from the Olympic Games after he was

returned to office as president for fourth time in what most

observers perceived as a rigged election?



With Olympic Ban on Belarus President, West Initiates New Era of Sport Politicization (Gazerta, Russia)


"The Olympic boycott issued to Belarus President Lukashenko is a clear signal from the Western world to the post-Soviet autocracies. The West no longer hopes for the democratization of these countries, and has begun to perceive them as the political heirs of the Soviet regime. ... This sets a precedent, not only for the history of the Olympics, but for the West's relations with the dictatorial regimes of the post-Soviet space."




Translated By Anastassia Tapsieva


July 27, 2012


Gazeta - Russia - Original Article (Russian)

The Soviet Olympiad: Russians are sensitive to Olympic politicization, after President Jimmy Carter did his best to sink the 1980 Olympiad in Moscow, when the Kremlim decided to invade Afghanistan.


BBC NEWS VIDEO: Kevin Spacey and Jude Law march against Belarus regime, March. 30, 2011, 00:02:29RealVideo

The refusal to allow [Belarus President] Lukashenko to attend the London Olympics means that once again, we are living in an era characterized by the politicization of major sporting events.


The Olympic boycott issued to Lukashenko is a clear signal from the Western world to the post-Soviet autocracies. The West no longer hopes for the democratization of these countries, and has begun to perceive them as the political heirs of the Soviet regime.


The organizing committee of the London Olympic Games refused accreditation to Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, who also happens to be head of his country’s Olympic committee. It is possible that IOC leaders will manage to convince British authorities and their Olympic organizing committee to change its collective mind, but for the moment at least, the Belorussian president will not be permitted to attend the Olympics for political reasons.

Posted by Worldmeets.US


The U.S. and E.U. refuse to recognize the December 2010 outcome of the Belarus presidential election, in which Lukashenko was re-elected to a fourth term. Friction between the West and Moscow intensified after protesters in Minsk who disagreed with the election result were violently dispersed, and ensuing court cases which resulted in actual prison time for several former presidential candidates. To date, there are a number of E.U. economic sanctions that have been imposed on Belarus, which were introduced due to the presence of political prisoners in the country. In addition, the Belarus president is banned from entering the E.U. as well as the United States. It is this ban that best explains the London Organizing Committee's decision to refuse to allow Lukashenko to attend the London Olympics.


The Belarus president, it seems, saw this coming. At a recent meeting with the Belorussian Olympic team, Lukashenko expressed criticism of the politicization of the modern Olympics.


“It is political - and sometimes politically dirty,” he said. Given that, the president gave the athletes traveling to London an assignment to win as many medals as possible. Tellingly, he even distorted the foundational principle of the Olympics that, “It is participation that counts, not victory.” Lukashenko declared, “What matters to us is victory, not participation.”


However, considering that Olympic competition was designed precisely so that sports would ensure a distraction from political differences, an exception could have been made for Lukashenko, permitting him to travel to London. Especially since Lukashenko is the lawfully elected - and IOC recognized - head of the Belarus National Olympic Committee. As such, E.U. sanctions do not apply.


It turns out that the political impact is felt by the entire Belarus Olympic delegation, which has been automatically rendered semi-outcast. Why, the U.S. even permits Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to attend U.N. General Assembly sessions because it’s a global forum, and not just a visit by a politician who from the point of view of Washington is considered "untouchable."



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The recent history of the Olympic Games includes some notable cases of sudden politicization. The most prominent was the boycott by the U.S. and several dozen other nations of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow in protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan; and then the retaliatory boycott by the Soviet Union and a few of its allies of the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984. At that point, the USSR went even further, and held an alternative 1986 Goodwill Games in Moscow. And there is a political scandal of a similar order at the London Olympics: In connection with the sharp deterioration of relations with Great Britain, Argentina President Cristina Kirchner has refused to travel to London and has forbade all members of her government from attending.


But all of these are voluntary acts of refusal on the part of states or government officials to attend the Olympics. Up until 2012, there were no instances of denying a head of state the right to attend the Olympics for political reasons.


This sets a precedent, not only for the history of the Olympics, but for the West's relations with the dictatorial regimes of the post-Soviet space. Clearly, it is much easier to introduce and implement sanctions against countries bereft of oil or natural gas and on those that play little or no significant role in global affairs. In that sense, Belarus and Lukashenko are much more convenient targets than, say, Russia and its leaders. Nevertheless, the "Magnitsky Act" will now certainly be passed in the U.S.


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This is the first clear signal since the collapse of the Soviet Union that the West is no longer hoping for the democratization of Russia and other former Soviet republics. It is unlikely that Western countries will dare refuse entry to senior Russian officials or freeze their bank accounts. But given its present course, the West is more likely to equate Russia with Belarus in terms of the nature of its political regime. Russian officials, if they continue to assault civil liberties within their borders, must also be prepared for harsher sanctions against themselves in the West.




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[Posted by Worldmeets.US Sept. 4, 8:59pm]



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