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Politician slams Russian team’s ban from 2018 Olympics as discrediting Olympic movement

December 06, 11:06 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Acting Secretary of the United Russia General Council Andrey Turchak called the current situation unprecedented

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MOSCOW, December 6. /TASS/. Barring Russia’s team from the 2018 Winter Olympic Games by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is a political decision which discredits the Olympic movement, acting Secretary of the United Russia General Council Andrey Turchak said on Wednesday.

"Banning the Russian Olympic team from the PyeongChang Olympics is a murder, discreditation of the entire Olympic movement and its principles," the United Russia press service quoted the acting General Council secretary. Turchak called the current situation unprecedented, when "a whole country the athletes of which won first places numerous times and set world records contributing to development of the Olympic movement has been groundlessly deprived of the opportunity to perform under the Russian banner."

The Olympic movement has been always based on the principle of "non-intervention of any personal or political interests in the outcome of sports competitions," he said. However, the opposite is happening now, the politician said: "athletes who devoted their lives to sports cannot perform under the banner of their country and promote their national team. "This is a real tragedy," he believes.

At the same time, Andrey Turchak expressed confidence that in the discussion on whether Russian sportsmen should perform under a neutral banner or Russia should boycott the Olympics, "the athletes’ interests should be taken into account and supported regardless of the taken decision."

The IOC’s decision

On Tuesday, the IOC decided to suspend membership of the Russian Olympic Committee, which bars the Russian national team from performing at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics under the national flag. The IOC accused Russia of systematic doping violations, in particular at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. That said, the IOC indents to observe the rights of clean athletes: athletes who match the proposed criteria will perform at the Games in the status of an Olympic athlete from Russia.

The Russian leadership refuted allegations of systematic use of doping in domestic sports numerous times and doubted the objectiveness of the IOC commission.

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