Russian pro-war athletes are set to compete at the Paris Olympics

The French government has granted permission for Russian athletes to participate in the 2024 Olympics. This includes ardent supporters of Putin, military personnel, propagandists, and those endorsing Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

Russian military athletes were openly supporting Russia’s war against Ukraine, according to a study by the Ukrainian OSINT community Molfar and Ukrainian TV Channel 24.

List of Russian athletes who support the war against Ukraine, Putin, and Russian Defense Ministry

Zaur Uguev

Zaur Uguev, born in 1995 in Khasavyurt, Dagestan, is a freestyle wrestler in the 57 kg weight category. He clinched a gold medal at the 2020 Olympic Games and won world championship titles in 2018 and 2019. Russia honored Uguev with the “Order of Friendship” in August 2021, a state award for his significant contributions to “peacebuilding.”.

However, Zaur’s allegiance seems to lie primarily with the Russian expansion concept of the “Russian world.” He has been propagating war and participating in rallies supporting dictator Putin. For instance, in March 2022, he attended a pro-war rally in Moscow.

Uguev participated in an event in June 2022, marked by the letters V and Z, signs of Putin’s war, during Russia Day celebrations in the Ulyanovsk region titled “Strong Wrestling—Strong People—Strong Country.” The posters and the stage showcased the Z and V symbols of Putin’s war.

He also competed in Iranian competitions in December 2023. Iran, like Russia, is under international sanctions for systematic human rights violations, supporting terrorism, including Hezbollah, and actively sharing military technologies with Russia, including selling “Shaheds” war drones that Russia uses to destroy Ukrainian cities.

Vladislav Larin

Larin is a 28-year-old taekwondo athlete from Russia who won Olympic gold in Tokyo in 2020 (over 80 kilograms). He is also a medalist and winner of the European and World Championships.

Vladislav Larin is an athlete for CSKA, the Central Sports Club of the Russian Army, whose website features his biography and a photo with Putin’s defense minister, Sergei Shoigu. During 2017–2018, he served at CSKA. For which the army club paid him a salary.

Additionally, Vladislav Larin received the “Order of Friendship” and was featured in a photo with Putin. In August 2023, he called for financial support and assistance for the Russian military.

Zaurbek Sidakov

Zaurbek Sidakov is a 27-year-old Olympic champion in Tokyo in freestyle wrestling (up to 74 kilograms). At the time, he was competing for the Russian Olympic Committee. He has medals from the World Championships, the European Championships, and the European Games, which took place in Minsk, Belarus, in 2019, where Sidakov won gold.

Zurbek supports Russian aggression against Ukraine. Zurbek Sidakov is more than just an athlete; he is also a military officer who has risen to the rank of warrant officer in the Russian Armed Forces. The Russian Ministry of Defense awarded him the medal “For Military Valor” of the II degree and a certificate of honor.

Zaurbek Sidakov received his salary from the CSKA (Army’s Club), of which he is still a member, as well as from the Russian Ministry of Defense.

In 2021, he received the Order of Friendship from Putin. According to him, the wrestler is particularly proud of this award.

IOC allowed Russians to participate in the Paris Olympics as “neutral” athletes

In mid-March 2024, the IOC made several decisions regulating Russians and Belarusians’ participation in the Paris Olympics as “neutral” athletes. However, everyone understands that this “neutrality” will not take away their passports or love for Vladimir Putin and the invasion army.

Russian and Belarusian athletes who receive Olympic licenses will compete in France under the acronym AIN, “individual neutral athletes.”

The mayor of the French capital, Anne Hidalgo, has repeatedly spoken out against the arrival of athletes from Russia and Belarus at the 2024 Games. She assured me that no one would be happy to see athletes from Russia and Belarus on French soil.

The inclusion of these “neutral” athletes from aggressor countries will allow Putin’s troops to continue the invasion of Ukraine and the bombardments of the Ukrainian cities, contradicting the Olympic principle.

Allowing Russian athletes to compete in the 2024 Games will give them the opportunity to showcase Putin’s military propaganda to a global audience.

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