IOC has opened ‘Pandora’s box’ with anti-Russian actions – deputy PM
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko has responded to the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) decision to strip himself and President Vladimir Putin of the Golden Order, alongside a list of other recommendations against Russia.
The IOC released a statement on Monday in which it announced the move that also sees Russian presidential official Dmitry Kozak stripped of his Olympic honor, and recommended that all Russian and Belarusian athletes be prevented from taking part in international sporting events due to the military conflict in Ukraine.
In response, Chernyshenko said that the IOC originally took its decision "to present the Olympic order on merits directly related to the Games just as it does medals to competitors in the Games themselves."
"In Russia only five people, including the President, have therefore been presented with the Golden Order," he pointed out, with Putin receiving the prestigious accolade in 2001 and both Chernyshenko and Kozak getting theirs in 2014, when the Sochi Winter Olympics were held.
"Unlike the proper decision that took place in advance of awarding these honors, the impulsive posturing behind their revocation simply aligns the Olympics to political ends, undermining the spirit of the games and the never-before-seen success of the Sochi Games," Chernyshenko added.
"The IOC has opened a Pandora’s Box to be exploited by historical revisionists, and all sport should be concerned by its eager willingness to do so," finished Chernyshenko, who is a key figure in Russian sport and helped organize Sochi 2014.
The IOC claimed to have a "heavy heart" when saying its executive board recommended that "international sports federations and sports event organizers not invite or allow the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials in international competitions" because of Russia's military operation in Ukraine.
Later on Monday, FIFA and UEFA banned Russian football teams from international competition, which means that the men's national team is unlikely to have the chance to reach the Qatar 2022 World Cup. The Russian women's team is set to miss the Euro 2022 tournament this summer.
On a personal level, Putin has also been stripped of his honorary black belt awarded to him by World Taekwondo Federation chief Choue Chung-won in South Korea in November 2013, plus his role as the International Judo Federation's Honorary President and Ambassador, which he had held since 2008.