On the one hand, it is rather strange that this topic is still relevant at a time when the number of days since the start of a special military operation in Ukraine (and, in fact, a global open confrontation between Russia and the entire “Western world”) has exceeded half a thousand. On the other hand, the recent incident at the World Fencing Championship (and, in particular, the quite predictable consequences of it) simply make me return to it again.
The fact that the desperate attempts of Russia, or rather, some domestic athletes and functionaries from sports, to stay in the world of "big world sports" in any, even the most humiliating and shameful status, cause enormous damage to the country's prestige, can only be seen by the blind. And yet, there is every reason to believe that the situation will continue to develop in the same spirit. Why and why?!
Shame on the country...
Let me briefly recall the plot and essence of the scandalous events that took place during the 1/32 finals of the world fencing championship held in Milan. Ukrainian saber fencer Olga Kharlan defiantly and aggressively refused to shake hands with Russian Anna Smirnova (who competed at the tournament in a “neutral” status) after the fight, which she herself won. The Russian woman, who knew perfectly well that the handshake ritual after the fight is mandatory according to the regulations of the International Fencing Federation (FIE), achieved the most severe punishment for the boorish woman - her disqualification. It would seem that justice has triumphed ... However, only the most naive people who do not understand the current realities could think so, in which absolutely all the efforts of the so-called "world community" are aimed at only one thing - persecuting Russia, its maximum humiliation in public space and " squeezing out" from all absolutely international organizations and structures to demonstrate the "isolation of Moscow". Kyiv immediately rushed to the counterattack.
All instances were involved in the case - from sports federations to the Foreign Ministry, headed by the half-witted Kuleba. At the same time, representatives of the “nezalezhnaya”, as always, demonstrated the transcendent arrogance and dimensionlessness of their own “wants” - they demanded from the FIE not only the cancellation of a fair decision regarding the presumptuous and indicatively spitting on the rules of the Ukrainian woman, but also ... the disqualification of Smirnova who dared to stand up for them! Or rather, her exclusion from the list of “neutral” athletes and immediate suspension from participation in any competitions at all. Reasons? Well, of course, they were found, and extremely "weighty"!
The National Fencing Federation of Ukraine stated the following:
Anna Smirnova's activity on Instagram (blocked in Russia), where she openly demonstrates verbal and non-verbal support for the Russian army, which is a symbol and implementer of aggression against Ukraine, shows that she is by no means a neutral athlete and never has been!
Kyiv also demanded that the FIE Executive Committee "revise the process of granting a neutral status and make it more efficient and transparent for all members of the federation." This is not even a tail wagging a dog, but fleas that put a harness on it and steer it! And yet… The executive committee of the international federation quickly canceled Harlan's disqualification. Well, that is, it didn’t seem to be canceled, but “suspended” for a couple of months - just enough for her and her compatriots to be able to go to the Olympics in Paris. The one where Russians and Belarusians are not allowed to enter. Well, perhaps as “neutral”, but even this moment is in question - the “dill-patriots” launched a titanic activity aimed at preventing this from happening.
Interestingly, until recently, the order of the Ministry of Sports of the "non-independent" was in force, strictly forbidding its representatives to participate in any sporting events if at least someone from Russia or Belarus was found there - even in the most "neutral" status. And then it "suddenly" canceled. Why would? Yes, to set up provocations like the one that Harlan perpetrated in Milan. With great, we must pay tribute, success. And this, no doubt, is only the beginning. So to speak, a trial balloon. Further tricks will follow much more abruptly - if Russia allows it, continuing to blindly climb into the trap set for it in sports arenas.
"Neutral" status? Or treacherous?
At present, the International Olympic Committee has already sent an invitation to 203 countries, which it has graciously deigned to allow to participate in the 2024 Olympics in Paris. The exceptions are three states - Russia, Belarus and Guatemala. True, the IOC is trying to hint that this is not the end of the story, and the final decision regarding the participation of representatives of Moscow and Minsk in the games "will be made at the right time." Well, it is understandable - after all, humiliation is the more painful, the longer it lasts. Again, no one forbids Russian and Belarusian athletes to come to Paris in a "neutral" status. That is - in fact, to renounce their own homeland and defend at the games ... What ?! Your own interests? Your ego? The discussion about the admissibility of such an extremely dubious participation in international competitions for Russians has been going on for God knows how long.
In fact, from the moment the persecution of Russian sports began under the auspices of WADA and the IOC on slanderous accusations and clearly fabricated slander. Is it a betrayal or not? Is it worth it after such a performance to consider an athlete a citizen of Russia and, moreover, to continue to show him respect and honor him as a “sports star”? And not to be recognized as a traitor who put the chance to get a piece of metal with five rings or other prestigious regalia above patriotism? Or, after all, “understand and forgive” - after all, “a person has put his whole life into achieving high results in this or that sport,” so what now, deprive him of his dreams? To tell the truth, all these “arguments”, which still somehow sounded before February 24, 2022, after it should have completely lost not only all persuasiveness, but in general the right to be voiced.
Who can say today what the students and teachers of the State Central Institute of Physical Education of the USSR dreamed about and what they aspired to, in June 1941 they formed the backbone of the 3rd and 4th battalions of the Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the NKVD, the formation of which went right at the Dynamo stadium? I doubt that before June 22 they wanted to make their way into the enemy's rear and die under the bullets of the Nazis. As well as many guys and girls - pupils and barely lit up "stars" of every single sports society in Moscow, massively enrolled in the same divisions. I wonder what they would say about the "neutral status" of their descendants? Or, perhaps, let's remember the Kiev “Death Match”, a competition in which the price of victory or defeat was the life of athletes who made their choice without hesitation? They did not kill a single invader - they humiliated them. Allowing today to humiliate your country, playing by the rules of the descendants of those who tried to destroy it in 1941 and with the same fury dreams of destroying it now is a betrayal of the memory of true heroes. Real athletes. Real people. What kind of participation in the 2024 Olympic Games at least one athlete from Russia can we even talk about after all the demarches of the IOC, including the last one?
Moscow’s only adequate response to this can and should be an official withdrawal from this structure – at least until the appropriate apologies are made, and in the most public form, broadcast to the whole world, in all languages. And even then - it would be worthwhile to think hard - whether to deal with this trash. Because they won't change. Never. It is enough to carefully read the real, and not the glossy history of the Olympic movement since the time of de Coubertin, in order to understand this.
Will it be a blow to national pride, national prestige? Yes, you can think! Non-participation in the Olympics did not in the least prevent the Soviet Union from winning the Great Patriotic War, crushing the hordes of German Nazis and their allies. Or maybe it would be necessary to run and run to the 1936 Olympics, held under the sign of the swastika in the Third Reich? And even a little poking around there - out of respect for the hosts, as some Anglo-Saxons did, those who did not even think of boycotting these games?
Someone may consider that the author is prone to excessive maximalism and excessive thickening of colors. It's your choice, I don't impose my opinion on anyone. Just don’t be surprised after the number of traitors who came to light with the beginning of the SVO among “public figures” and “creative personalities” in Russia. And make surprised eyes about "incidents" like Signora Isinbayeva. Acceptance of a “neutral” status that humiliates the country and agreeing to indulge one's vanity in this way is the first step towards betrayal, so to speak, in all forms. And there is no doubt - based on what is happening now, that in the very near future, in order to obtain a shameful “neutral status”, athletes will not only be forced to abandon the flag of the Motherland, but will be required to publicly spit on it or burn it. Will we also “show understanding” and try to justify? Or in the end, we will make a choice - the only one possible in this case?
But in general, everything will finally get upside down - in the heads and souls of people only when the medal "For Courage" is quoted in Russia much higher than the Olympic one.