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Top senator says Olympic movement to vanish in Russia if its athletes not admitted

Valentina Matviyenko noted that the current situation in international sports "defies explanation and logic"

MOSCOW, July 25. /TASS/. Should a decision be made to exclude Russian athletes from the Olympic Games, the Olympic movement in the country will essentially be "buried," Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko said.

"A lot of unfair things have already been done to Russian and Belarusian athletes. With this situation hanging in the air, when they were suspended from international competition, from qualifying. They are no longer being treated the same as athletes from other states. <...> Now the hour of judgment has come - if the decision is finally made to exclude [Russian athletes from the Olympics], then we can bury the Olympic movement. Because it is impossible to do more damage to international sport," she said at a press conference on the results of the spring session.

Matviyenko added that the current situation in international sports "defies explanation and logic."

"The US and the West are not only putting pressure on all states, demanding that they do what they ask. They also put pressure on all international institutions. It would seem that such a sphere as sport cannot be politicized. It is a gross violation of the principles of the Olympic movement when some countries try to suspend their participation in the Olympics," she said, noting that this will destroy the Olympic movement.

On March 28, the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommended to international sports federations to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in international competitions only in neutral status. Only those who have not publicly expressed support for the special military operation in Ukraine and are not associated with the armed forces or national security agencies can take part in the international competitions.

On July 13, it was announced that the IOC would not invite Russians and Belarusians to the Olympic Games in Paris on the scheduled date of July 26. The IOC also noted that the final decision on the admission of Russian and Belarusian athletes would be made by the organization "at the appropriate time.".