9 Feb 2018 13:49

Moskalkova sees IOC decision as violating all Russians' rights

MOSCOW. Feb 9 (Interfax) - The International Olympic Committee's (IOC) decision to bar Russian athletes from participating in the 2018 Olympic Games infringes on the rights of all Russian citizens, Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova said.

"The decision to bar the Russian Olympic Committee from participating in the Winter Olympic Games violates not only the rights of the athletes themselves, but also of fans and of all Russian citizens, patriots of their country," Moskalkova said in a statement published on Friday.

With its decision, the IOC delivered a severe blow "not only to Russian athletes, but to the entire Olympic movement, one of the fundamental values of which is that sports is above politics," she said.

Moskalkova believes the ban was politically motivated. "Many athletes spend their whole life waiting for the Olympic Games; they've seriously trained and believed they could win. Russian teams are indeed stronger, and they had every chance to win the highest medals. The decision to disqualify them is not only an opportunity to eliminate competitors, but also an attempt to undermine the patriotic spirit and sever the ties among people that are bringing national pride to unprecedented levels," Moskalkova said.