8 Dec 2017 15:32

MPs who failed to make it possible for Russian athletes to compete under Russian flag shouldn't go to PyeongChang Olympics - Volodin

MOSCOW. Dec 8 (Interfax) - Russian State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin has negatively responded to a proposal put forth by A Just Russia faction member Valery Gazzayev to go to the Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang to support Russian athletes who will decide to compete there.

"We have nothing to do there if we are unable to ensure an opportunity for our athletes to compete under our [national] flag on behalf of our country," Volodin said in his reply to Gazzayev, who suggested moving MPs' May recess to the period of the Winter Olympic Games. Gazzayev argued that by stripping Russia of the right to send its delegation to the PyeongChang Olympics, the IOC banned athletes from using Russia's national flag; the Russian national anthem will not be played at these Games, either. However, Russian supporters could still use national symbols, Gazzayev said.

Gazzayev proposed moving MPs' two-week recess from April to February to enable them to go to South Korea to support Russian athletes who will decide to compete in PyeongChang.

"I would like to submit one proposal. I have spoken to a large number of deputies who expressed such a wish and suggested going [to South Korea] in February in place of their two-week recess in April in order to support athletes. There won't be many of them, but we should support these athletes and sing the anthem if they are not allowed to," he said.