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Duma speaker: Sports should not be ‘stained’ with politics

January 20, 2014, 16:50 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Sergei Naryshkin added that he was not watching attentively which global leaders were going to attend the Olympics
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State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin

State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin

© ITAR-TASS/Stanislav Krasilnikov

MOSCOW, January 20. /ITAR-TASS/. Speaker of the lower house of Russia’s parliament has warned against attempts to “stain” sports with politics ahead of the Winter Olympic Games the country will host next month.

Sergei Naryshkin was responding to an Itar-Tass correspondent’s request to comment on the refusal by some foreign leaders, including the Lithuanian president, to attend the Olympics.

Naryshkin said he is “often offered to attend the first night of a theatre performance or take part in the opening of an art exhibition.”

“Due to various reasons, I have to turn down some of such proposals,” the speaker said.

“If the performance is talented or if the art exhibition is interesting, it is always a bright event in Moscow’s cultural life,” Naryshkin said. “The Sochi Olympics will become a bright sports festival, and, as President (Vladimir Putin) said a few days ago, it is important that no one should stain sports with politics.”

According to a translation provided by the Kremlin website, Putin said in a recent interview to Russian and foreign media: “I would like to see sports freed from taint of politics. I think that we all stand to benefit from that.” The interview was given to reporters from the BBC, ABC News, CCTV, Rossiya-1, Channel One, and Around the Rings, in Sochi on January 17.

Naryshkin also said he was not watching attentively which global leaders were going to attend the Olympics, but said that the Slovakian parliament speaker would take part in the opening of the Sochi Olympic Games.

“I know this because we have scheduled inter-parliamentary consultations here in Moscow for the 6th (of February), and I will have a meeting with my counterpart,” he said.

Some world leaders, including US, French, German and Lithuanian presidents, Barack Obama, Francois Hollande, Joachim Gauck and Dalia Grybauskaite, earlier said they would not attend the Games Russia will host in its Black Sea resort of Sochi on February 7-23.

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