Russia has been busy making quite a name for themselves on the world’s stage as of late, and that trend doesn’t appear to be diminishing much heading into 2018.
Over the course of the last year, the United States and their former Cold War nemesis have been involved in a number of bizarre and unique spats. After U.S. President Donald Trump conducted a tactical military strike on Syrian forces accused of gassing their own citizens, Russia was quick to warn the American military not to try that again. This led many to believe that Russia may have been complicit in some of these horrific chemical attacks, or may have assisted in their coverup in Syria.
Then, as North Korea continued to provoke and threaten the United Staes through a series of statements and missile tests, Russia again popped up to remind America that North Korea is a sovereign nation and that any force applied to them may very well be applied right back at the behest of Russian forces.
Now, as Russia continues to simply bully the world at large, the International Olympic Committee has banned Russia from participating in the 2018 South Korean Olympics – a move that will surely be met with anger from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Russia’s Olympic team has been barred from the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The country’s government officials are forbidden to attend, its flag will not be displayed at the opening ceremony and its anthem will not sound. Any athletes from Russia who receive special dispensation to compete will do so as individuals wearing a neutral uniform, and the official record books will forever show that Russia won zero medals.
“That was the punishment issued Tuesday to the proud sports juggernaut that has long used the Olympics as a show of global force but was exposed for systematic doping in previously unfathomable ways. The International Olympic Committee, after completing its own prolonged investigations that reiterated what had been known for more than a year, handed Russia penalties for doping so severe they were without precedent in Olympics history.
“The ruling cemented that the nation was guilty of executing an extensive state-backed doping program. The scheme was rivaled perhaps only by the notorious program conducted by East Germany throughout the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s.
“Now the sports world will wait to see how Russia responds. Some Russian officials have threatened to boycott if the I.O.C. delivered such a severe punishment.”
Russia, whose reputation for shady international dealings seems to be backing itself up over the course of the last year, will likely release some statement on the subject in the coming days, and few believe that this message will be an apology.
How this move will affect global diplomacy has yet to be seen, but with Vladimir Putin involved, it is unlikely that this maneuver goes quietly into the night.