Editorial: political disqualification


The West’s Olympic boycott of Lukashenko is sending a clear signal to ex-Soviet dictatorships. The West isn’t holding out hope for democratization and has started to see them as the political heirs of the Soviet regime.

The London Olympics organization committee denied accreditation to Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko who also heads the National Olympics committee. May be the International Olympic Committee can still persuade the British authorities and the organization committee to reconsider, but for now the President of Belarus has no access to to the Games for political reasons.

USA and EU didn’t recognize the election results in Belarus in December 2010 when Lukashenko was reelected for a fourth term. The confrontation between the West and Belarus worsened after the protest rallies by those unhappy with the election results were brutally scattered, and afterwards several presidential candidates were sentenced to real prison time in show trials. Now there are several economic sanctions in effect against Belarus, initiated because there are political prisoners in Belarus. Moreover, Lukashenko and several Belarussian officials have been blacklisted from entry in EU and USA. This prohibition may be the formal reason for the denial of Lukashenko’s accreditation.

The Belarussian president evidently foresaw these events. Recently, when meeting the Belarus Olympic sportemen, Lukashenko lamented about the politicization of modern olympics. “This is politics, sometimes dirty politics,” he said. Nevertheless, he ordered his sportsmen to bring as many medals home as possible. And even altered the main Olympic principle “participation is more important than winning”: “It’s winning that’s important for us, not participation,” Lukashenko said.

Nevertheless, the Olympics were created so that sports could help us forget about political rivalries. It was possible to make an exception for the leader of Belarus and let him into London. In the end, he is the legally elected chairman of the National Olympic Committee, recognized by the IOC, so EU sanctions should not concern him.

It looks like the political hammer has fallen on all the delegation from Belarus, the sportsmen have automatically been turned into outcasts.

Even Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, has been admitted to the USA for UN assembly meetings, because this is a global forum, not a visit of an outcast politician to United States.

The recent history of the Olympics has seen cases of politicization. First of all the Moscow Olympics in 1980, boycotted by USA and its allies as a protest against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the reciprocal boycott of LA Olympics in 1984 by the USSR and most of its satellites. The USSR even went further and organized an alternative Goodwill Games in Moscow in 1986. There is another political scandal taking place during the current London Olympics: after relations between Argentina and the UK worsened, Argentinian president Christina Kirchner decided not to go to London herself and forbade his cabinet from going.

But these are voluntary acts by states or their representatives from attending this world renowned sports event. Up to now there has never been a ban of a leader from an independent country from coming to Olympics for political reasons.

This is a precedent, not only in the history of Olympics, but in the history of relations between the West and the dictatorships of the ex-Soviet Union. Certainly it’s easier to impose sanctions on a country without oil or natural gas, and who doesn’t play a major part in world politics. Belarus and Lukashenko are much more comfortable targets than, say, Russia and her leaders.

Nevertheless, the Magnitsky law will be certainly adapted in the US. And this is the first clear signal since the dissolution of Soviet Union: the West isn’t hoping for Russia or some other countries of the region to democratize themselves. The western countries will doubtfully dare to deny entry to Russian leaders or freeze their foreign accounts. But Russia will be compared to Belarus all the more often if her current course continues. Russian officials should get ready for sanctions against them from the West if they are to continue their pressure on civic freedoms. hairy woman займ на карту без отказов круглосуточно https://zp-pdl.com/get-a-next-business-day-payday-loan.php https://zp-pdl.com/emergency-payday-loans.php unshaven girls

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