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6 Big Names That Are Skipping the Russian Olympics

6 Big Names That Are Skipping the Russian Olympics

Despite a handful of out and proud athletes who have declared their intentions of competing in the upcoming Sochi Olympic Games, there are an unusually high number of celebrities and political figures who are doing the opposite. Thanks to its well publicized human rights violations and mistreatment of homosexuals, Russia is learning quickly that many in the international community are unwilling to go along with the status quo in the face of such controversy.

Here are six big names who will not be in attendance:

 

1. Joachim Gauck

In early December, the German president became the first major political official to announce that he would boycott the Sochi games. Apparently, Gauck informed the Kremlin personally that he would skip the Games to protest Russia’s human rights violations.

It’s not the first time Gauck has criticized Russian officials either. Since taking office in 2012, the president has attacked Russia’s “air of imperialism” and “deficit of rule of law.”

 

2. Dalia Grybauskaite

The ongoing tense relationship between Lithuania and Russia has made it easy for the Lithuanian president to boycott the Olympic Games. As she sees it, there is “no political possibility” for her to attend the event, citing both human rights violations and economic sanctions are a reason for personally boycotting the games.

 

3. Francois Hollande

Though not nearly as outspoken as some other political leaders, France’s president  has declared his plans to skip 2014′s Olympic festivities. A spokesperson for Hollande acknowledged that there were no plans for the president or other high ranking French officials to make any appearances in Sochi. When pressed for further comment, the French Foreign Minister declined to make an explicit political statement, instead saying, “I wish all the success for these games.”

 

4. Barack Obama


It’s almost unheard of for the President (as well as the Vice President and First Lady) to skip the Olympic games, yet still it’s no surprise that Putin’s American foe has announced that he will sit out this Olympics.

While Obama hasn’t officially called it a boycott or a slight, the delegates he is sending in his place say more than words ever could. Three openly gay athletes — Brian Boitano, Caitlin Cahow and Billie Jean King — will officially represent the United States at the Sochi games in his place.

It’s Obama’s way of making a non-statement statement about Russia’s treatment of its LGBT citizens. To be fair, however, the Edward Snowden situation probably hasn’t motivated Obama to take a trip to Russia either.

 

5. Cher

After receiving an invite from an unnamed Russian VIP to perform in Sochi’s opening ceremonies, Cher says she “immediately” declined, adding, “I want to know why all of this gay hate just exploded over there.”

Although the lifelong LGBT advocate did not want to associate with the Russian government’s human rights violations, Cher is no stranger to the country, having performed there twice already in 2013. She agreed with her contact in Russia: “The Russian people don’t feel the way the government does.”

 

6. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova

Another musical artist you can bet won’t be making any appearances at the Sochi is Pussy Riot. The feminist band that gained international fame after being sent to jail on trumped up charges for protesting Russia’s church and government is calling for everyone to boycott the Olympic games.

Tolokonnikova, one of Pussy Riot’s members, has recently been freed from jail early in an obvious attempt to soften Russia’s image. Still, she has not been deterred from speaking out against the government again, saying in a press conference, “Whether one likes it or not, going to the Olympics in Russia is an acceptance of the international political situation in Russia, an acceptance of the course taken by a person who is interested in the Olympics above all else – Vladimir Putin.”

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Photo Credits: Gauck by Das blaue Sofa, Grybauskaite by OECD, Hollande by Abderrahman Bouirabdane, Obama by jvuterson, Cher by Neil Ward, Pussy Riot by Jeanne Menjoulet & Cie

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141 comments

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2:16AM PST on Jan 5, 2014

The Russians and Putin will not loose any sleep over the boycott. Without these new world order puppets attending we may see a better olympics.

11:18PM PST on Jan 4, 2014

continued,

.....Actually, from almost the Moment the news came out that Sochi was going to be the Site of the February 2014 Winter Olympics, there were PLENTY of objections, both from inside, and from outside, of Russia. In fact, the NYTimes wrote a review of a BOOK written by 2 Russian scientists, as to why the Olympics should NOT be held in Sochi...
For one thing, SOCHI IS TROPICAL and has little or no snow... I guess the snow for the "Winter Olympics" will have to be artificial, then? is that safe?

For another thing, the Infrastructure just isn't there, the Electricity has a habit of going out...
For another thing, as we have seen, TERRORISTS from the Caucuses Region will be targeting the Games... UNSAFE for LOTS of reasons, then...
The IOC, the International Olympic Committee, is just a DICTATORSHIP, NOT a "representation" of Olympic-participant countries, not a govt body in ANY sense...

Does that answer your question, Frank S.?

11:15PM PST on Jan 4, 2014

Frank S: "Why didn't these same people who are boycotting the Olympics voice their concerns before the decision was made to hold the Olympics in Russia?????"

The decision to hold the Olympics in Russia, is not a "democratic"-type decision, and input from ordinary mortals is not solicited or responded to.
The decision is made ENTIRELY by the IOC, the International Olympic Committee, which is a TOTALLY CORRUPT body of EXTREMELY WEALTHY PEOPLE, self-selected, who STAND TO PROFIT FINANCIALLY from the Games, themselves. Quite probably, Bribery, Favoritism, pulling strings, calling in favors, and crappola like that, determines the outcome.
Given the HUGE DEGREE OF CORRUPTION involved in the BUILDING OF OLYMPIC FACILITIES in Russia - Corruption that everybody knows about, Corruption on a MASSIVE scale, even larger than the USUAL Olympic Games Corruption - there must've definitely been money exchanged "out of sight of the Public".
Actually, from almost the Moment the news came out that Sochi was going to be the Site of the February 2014 Winter Olympics, there were PLENTY of objections, both from inside, and from outside, of Russia. In fact, the NYTimes wrote a review of a BOOK written by 2 Russian scientists, as to why the Olympics should NOT be held in Sochi...
For one thing, SOCHI IS TROPICAL and has little or no snow... I guess the snow for the "Winter Olympics" will have to be artificial, then? is that safe?
For another thing, the Infrastructure just isn't there, the Ele

10:56PM PST on Jan 4, 2014

Gay groups inside and outside of Russia, are asking people to BOYCOTT the major Corporate Sponsors of the Sochi Winter Olympics: they are:

Coca-cola
Panasonic
VISA
Samsung
Proctor&Gamble

It's a shame that SOME Companies which have good internal policies regarding LGBTQ employees, are not being Consistent with their supposed "Values" in supporting, in effect, the Russian repressive policies....
It's the almighty greenback $$$$$, of course.... so what else is new.....

1:34PM PST on Jan 4, 2014

The Olympics is not about politics; it's about good sportsmanship and healthy competition. By boycotting, it shows that some people don't understand this and obviously never did. They are pathetic, sore losers.

Let's be clear, not everyone is a supporter of the LGBT community nor is anyone obligated to be.

6:43PM PST on Jan 1, 2014

I have mixed feelings on this. Part of me says everyone should just stay home. But part of me knows what most of these athletes have sacrificed and worked so hard for. Such a disappointment for them. However I would encourage anyone who has a non-human partner (horse) to stay home. OK to risk your safety but not theirs.

3:59PM PST on Jan 1, 2014

Russia where political rights and civil liberties have become so restricted that the country should be downgraded to "Not Free," .
But just to abandon the games is not the answer either I don't think. While countries are talking or playing games....hopefully they won't be "fighting".

12:23PM PST on Jan 1, 2014

Glad to read-thanks

9:56AM PST on Jan 1, 2014

I think these games should have been cancelled long ago. I don't believe Russia's assertions that gay athletes and their significant others will be left alone nor do I believe that Russia can guarantee the safety of the athletes or spectators. I hope this is the most poorly attended Olympics ever for both of the reasons I just mentioned. Because those opposing Russia's anti-gay laws hold the moral high ground, in my opinion, and I also think those who are what Russia calls terrorists, but whom I think are people tired of decades under Russia's boots, will harm people in attendance or do their level best to try. No one is safe in Putin's Russia and I hope many more people with voices who are heard will boycott and say why, loudly.

8:15AM PST on Jan 1, 2014

There must be a way to get through to the haters of the world. More hate isn't the answer but what is?

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