Georgia and Sochi Olympic Games
10 October, 2013
Georgia and Sochi Olympic Games
Call for boycotting the Olympic Games receives over 5 000 signatures

“Georgia forgives Russia a torchbearer, the South Ossetia’s war hero,” Russian news agency Lenta.ru interprets the statement made earlier by the Georgian national Olympic committee that it doesn’t see the grounds for a review of the decision of Georgian sportsmen participation in 2014 Sochi Olympics.
“The President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili addressed the Olympic committee to make an adequate correct decision on Georgian participation in the Olympics. His words
followed the information that a pilot Ivan Nechayev, who fought in the 2008 august war and subsequently received a Russian hero awarded for bravery, will carry the Olympic in Moscow on 6 October,” Lenta.ru informs. The Russian agency notes that the Georgian Government termed the Russia’s decision to include Nechayev among torchbearers as “provocative”. The Russian news portal cites the statement released by the Georgian government, saying that Georgia will closely monitor the preparatory events of Sochi Olympics and may review the participation if things proved to be excessively politicized and manipulative to the detriment of the country.
“Participation of Georgian sportsmen in Sochi Olympics to be hosted by Russia was under question till spring 2013. After the August 2008 war diplomatic relations between the states stopped as Georgia accuses Russia of “occupying” Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The previous government called to boycott Sochi Olympics. The official position of the country has drastically changed after the Georgian Dream coalition led by the billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili won the parliamentary elections. In May 2013, Georgia officially confirmed participation in Sochi Olympics,” lenta.ru informs. One of the torchbearers of Sochi Olympics will be an August 2008 war “hero”, Russian military pilot Ivan Nechayev. Russian media informs that he took part in the war. At the time his jet was damaged but he managed to land the machine on the base. 
The Guardian published an article “Georgia wary of Russian encroachment”
The Georgian opposition criticizes the prime minister’s docile attitude to Moscow. The latter however has a ready answer in the form of the Sochi winter Olympics, which Russia will be hosting next February. “Everything that’s happening at present, including the barbed-wire fences, is connected to the Games,” Ivanishvili asserts.
“The entire Russia is focusing on the problem of how to organize the Games peacefully. And we are doing all we can to make that possible and to help them.” Questioned about the barbed wire and trenches being dug in some places, he frowns. “What should we do? Start a new war?”
The Georgian president puts a more radical spin on events. In his speech to the UN general assembly last month, Mikheil Saakashvili described Russia as the “an old empire ... trying to reclaim its bygone borders”.
Two-thirds through in the President’s speech, the Russian delegation stood up and walked out in protest. “Despite the friendly statements made by the new Georgian Government in recent weeks and months, the Russian military keeps advancing its positions, dividing communities with new barbed wires,” he insisted.
Russia’s UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin dismissed this speech as russophobic and called for a “professional assessment” of Saakashvili’s mental health. 
The online petition for Georgian citizens on boycotting the Sochi Olympics has amassed 5,000 signatures so far (5078 people - to be precise). Petition signing still continues. The petition was drafted by Transparency International – Georgia and the Fair Elections organizations.
According to the Georgian citizens, it is unacceptable to take part in the Sochi Olympics when the Russian government systematically violates the 12 August agreement and relocates the occupation line.
‘We think Georgia’s participation in the Sochi Olympic Games is unacceptable. For the recent months a great part of the villages along the de-facto border have been left without water and access to their agricultural land. We think protest against the Olympic Games will be a relevant step from the Georgian government and a good response to violation of obligations and international norms by Russia. We call on the government to express protest against the steps damaging Georgia’s sovereignty. Refusal of participation in the Olympic Games will be a message to the world that the Georgian government will never put up with the occupation of the Georgian territories,” the petition says.
The authors of the petition do not rule out organization of peaceful protests demanding the boycotting of the Sochi Olympics.
President Mikheil Saakashvili offers the government to call for a Security Council meeting, Andro Barnovi, Head of the President’s Administration, said at a press conference today.
According to him, the President sees a necessity for summoning the Security Council for a meeting because of the situation at the occupation line.
”The creeping occupation continues. The President thinks the issue should be immediately discussed. He is offering the Security Council meeting to be held on Saturday,” Barnovi said.
According to him, the issue of the Sochi Olympic Games might also be discussed at the meeting.
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