German President Joachim Gauck may be boycotting the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in order to protest Russia’s human rights abuses:
German President Joachim Gauck will not represent his country at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, his office says.
The announcement makes Gauck, a former pastor, the first major political figure to boycott the games, which will be held at the Black Sea resort in February.
According to a report in the German publication Der Spiegel, Gauck made the decision in protest against human rights violations and the harassment of Russian opposition political figures. The magazine said the Russian government was informed of his decision last week.
But Gauck’s office is downplaying the report. “He simply decided not to go,” his spokesman Tobias Scheufele told CNN. “We’re not saying anything about his motivations.”
Others have called for a boycott to protest Russia’s recent crackdown on gays and lesbians, which is just the tip of the iceberg of the Russian government’s repressive ways under the rule of Ex-KGB Colonel Vladimir Putin.
Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin argues for a limited boycott by world leaders:
The athletes are going to the games, for better or worse. (On one hand the almighty dollar and the bizarre primacy of sports make one queasy, on the other, one can sympathize with the young people who’ve devoted their lives for the perfect performance at just the right time.) But the politicians are an unnecessary and therefore dispensable part of the proceedings….
It would be a small but telling gesture if the Obama administration and all members of Congress would steer clear of Sochi. The athletes in full view of hundreds of millions around the world can compete — and then snag their endorsements. Refusal to grace Sochi with the presence of the