For the third time in twelve years, Russia is violating the sovereignty of another country in the period surrounding the Olympic Games – and in the same vein it is violating the Olympic cease-fire.
The so-called “Olympic Peace” was established in 1993 and first came into force around the Lillehammer Olympics the following year, with the aim of ensuring a ceasefire between all participating nations within two months around the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
This cease-fire, which was historically significant to the games in ancient Greece, where the city-states were constantly at war with each other, is rooted in the United Nations and the Russians also signed the resolution.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine comes during the Olympic ceasefire, which began seven days before the opening of the Olympics and ended on March 20.
– It is very dangerous that they are violating this ceasefire, which was ratified by all 193 member states of the United Nations, and which strongly condemns the International Olympic Committee (International Olympic Committee). Norwegian IOC board member Kristin Kloster Asen says it is the United Nations that adopts these decisions and that it may have to sanction.
All things are three
However, this is not the first time that Russia has been accused of violating the Olympic ceasefire in recent years:
- On the same day as the opening ceremony in Beijing prior to the 2008 Summer Olympics, Russian tanks rolled into Georgia and South Ossetia.
- A few days after its Olympic Games ended in 2014, Russia completed the annexation of Crimea in Ukraine.
Remarkably, three Russian invasions took place during or immediately after three Olympics, says Secretary General of Amnesty Norway, John Peder Ignes.
The Russian authorities themselves claim that they did not violate the Olympic ceasefire, since the first two cases were related to “internal relations” – an opinion that the Western authorities oppose. Sigmund Loland, a professor in the Department of Sports and Social Sciences at the Norwegian Sports Academy, also did not recognize himself in the description.
“Of course not. And if anyone doubts it: in parallel with the Beijing Olympics, Russian leaders drew up the latest decisive plans for the attack on Ukraine ”, he is writing.
We say frankly that the Russian authorities have violated the decision. The decision is a common value sign about something that doesn’t deal with war and polarization, so it’s incredibly sad and dangerous not to comply, says Kloster Assen, mentioning that IOC President Thomas Bach called for peace, reconciliation and solidarity. During the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Winter Olympics.
For his part, Sports President Berit Kjol said in a press release that sporting events in Russia should not be held under the prevailing conditions.
Asin: Not a smoking blanket
When asked if the Olympics could serve as a smokescreen or a transformative maneuver for Russian military operations, as they have in three of the last eight games, Kloster Assen was more skeptical.
– I don’t know if this is true, until the world opens up too much. The whole world has seen the escalating situation in Ukraine, so I don’t think the Olympics were a diversion in this regard.
Russia is already barred from participating in the Olympic context under its flag, and must instead represent the Russian Olympic Committee. Kloster Asen says the IOC’s room to maneuver on a general basis mainly deals with the chance of the future organizer (Russia) to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
On Thursday morning, shortly after the Russian invasion was announced, the International Olympic Committee released a statement that the bidding for television rights in Europe for the 2026 and 2028 Olympics is now open — a statement criticized for its timing on social media.
– The timing is completely random, it’s a tender stance posted a long time ago. This was not planned to be announced today, says Kloster-Assen.
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