Russian NOC outraged: Belarusian president not to attend London 2012 Olympics

“The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games has not granted an accreditation pass to Aliaksandr Lukashenka, President of the National Olympic Committee of Belarus. Are sports really beyond politics? And what about Olympic values and traditions? Every school child knows that in ancient Greece all conflicts among the participating city-states were postponed until the games were finished,” Alexander Zhukov, Russian Federation NOC President, posted to his Twitter on July 24, 2012.
The 2012 Summer Olympics (the Games of the XXX Olympiad) are scheduled to take place between 27 July 2012 and 12 August 2012. Thousands of VIPs including some 120 national leaders will jet into London for Friday’s Olympic opening ceremony, with guests ranging from Angelina Jolie and Michelle Obama to the king of Swaziland. There will, however, be notable absences as the Games begin — not least leaders such as Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, who along with Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe and Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus is subject to a European travel ban, British press reports.
The Belarusian leader attended Bejing 2008 Summer Olympics and Nagano 1998 Winter Olympics. But there is every likelihood that this time he was well aware that the door to London is closed on him. At the opening ceremony of the 21st International Arts Festival Slavonic Bazaar in Vitebsk Aliaksandr Lukashenka called Olympic Games “politicized”.
“Olympic Games dramatically lag behind our Slavonic Bazaar. They are politicized and badly flawed, while Slavonic Bazaar is an island of freethinking and independence, there are many things one can learn from it,” the head of state said.
(upd) The UK embassy in Minsk told information company BelaPAN that Aliaksandr Lukashenka was banned from traveling to the European Union over the flawed presidential election in 2010 and the subsequent crackdown on political opponents and civil society. The entry ban will remain in force during the Olympics and the decision on the matter will not be changed, the embassy said.
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