Georgian Olympic Team Releases Statement on 2014 Sochi Games

Protests of the 2014 Olypmics in Sochi, Russia have already begun because of poor relations between Russia and the Republic of Georgia. Russia illegally occupies Abkhazia, a region of Georgia, and is building military bases in the area and issuing Russian passports to the people who live there. The US left Vancouver with the most medals by any country at any Winter Games.

The Georgian Olympic Team released this statement on the 2014 Winter Olympics planned for Sochi, Russia.

The extinguishing of the Olympic flame in Vancouver on Sunday reminds us that four years from now, the XXII Winter Olympic Games are scheduled to be held in the Russian city of Sochi—just 20 miles from the border of Abkhazia, a region of Georgia occupied and ethnically cleansed by Russian troops after Moscow invaded our country in 2008.

Today, about 5,000 Russian soldiers remain in Abkhazia in violation of a ceasefire agreement signed by Russia and Georgia and brokered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. More than 350,000 Georgian citizens have been forced to flee their homes. They now live in camps for internally displaced people outside of Abkhazia—in secure areas closer to Georgia’s capital of Tbilisi—and they are unable to return to their communities. Many of their houses have been destroyed or taken, and their businesses and lands have been expropriated. Russia, which illegally occupies Abkhazia, is building military bases in the region and issuing Russian passports to the people who live there.

As we leave Vancouver and look ahead to the 2014 games, we hope that the world will not forget that just a few miles from Sochi, Russian troops have invaded a sovereign country and brutally seized and occupied an entire region that is not theirs. Along with the South Ossetia/Tskhinvali Region of Georgia that it also invaded, Russia now occupies 20 percent of our country.

We ask our fellow athletes, and people who believe in freedom everywhere, to join us in demanding that Russia end its occupation of Georgia, that it stop exploiting the people and resources of Abkhazia’s fragile Black Sea coastal zone for construction of Olympic facilities in Sochi, and that it allow Georgia’s internally displaced people to return to their homes. The Olympic Games should not be built on a foundation of violence and ecological disaster.

— The Georgian Olympic Team
27 February 2010

Related… Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered Russian Olympic officials to quit or be fired on Monday. Russia limped in 11th in the medals table in Vancouver with just three golds, its worst ever tally. The US set a medal record at Vancouver with 37 total team medals.

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