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Participation in Sochi Olympics still on the agenda

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, October 10
In May of 2013, the Georgian Olympic Committee shared the opinion of the Georgian government and decided the issue of Georgia’s participation in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.

Sochi is located on the border of the Georgian breakaway region of Abkhazia, which is now occupied by Russian military forces. Georgia’s previous administration was against Georgia’s participation in the Olympic Games. However, the new government has changed its attitude towards the issue and included this among the other concessions it has made with Russia.

This decision is understood as a goodwill gesture on the Georgian side. By this step, Tbilisi wants to better regulate relations with Russia. Georgia even offered to cooperate with Russia on security issues for the safety of the Sochi Olympic Games. Presumably, Georgia expected that Moscow would react with friendly steps from their side and at the very least tone down their aggressive behavior..

In return for Georgia’s civilized moves, Russia instead began installing metal poles and barbed wire fencing along the administrative border between the Georgian mainland and its breakaway South Ossetian region.

Moreover, during the official ceremony of lighting the Olympic fire in Moscow, pilot Ivan Nichaev, the so-called Russian hero of the August War 2008, has been among one of the carriers of the Olympic torch. He is one who bombed innocent Georgian villages and towns, killing the civilian population in cold blood. As a result, he was given the title of Russian hero by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Of course this arrogant gesture caused great irritation among the Georgian population. As a result, many Georgians who were tolerantly accepting Georgia’s decision to participate in the Olympic Games, have now changed their opinion.

Representatives of the former administration and President Mikheil Saakashvili in particular used the opportunity to criticize the current Georgian government, accusing them of betraying Georgia’s national interests.

However, the current administration believes that sports and politics should not be intermingled. Why punish Georgian athletes by disallowing them a great opportunity to perform on an international stage against international competition on account of political differences?

That being said, Georgian ice dancer Elene Gedevanishvili who recently qualified for the Olympic Games and received a license for her participation stated that she will obey the decision of the Georgian government. If Tbilisi officially recalls its athletes from participation, she will respect the decision. However, currently she is training vigorously in preparation for the games.

The opinion of Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili is known. He supports the participation of Georgian athletes in the Olympic Games. However, the final decision about participation in the Games will be taken by the new PM whose name and therefore attitude towards the issue is not known yet.