On 24 February 2022 the Russian military invasion of Ukraine commenced
On 25 February World Sailing joined the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and global sports organisations in taking the decision to suspend participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials in World Sailing owned and sanctioned competitions and events until further notice.
This was a small but important step in the face of the continuing murderous attacks being made on the people of Ukraine by the Russian and Belarusian armed forces.
On 3 March the Spanish Optimist organisation, and their host RNC Valencia, made the decision to accept Russian and Belarusian competitors and coaches, issuing them fake sail numbers.
Apparently considering that the death and injury and destruction being inflicted on the people of Ukraine was not worth upsetting their event for.
In contrast, the Athletes at the Winter Paralympics, who had much more at stake, did consider it worth making a stand for.
Organizers of the 2022 Winter Paralympics reversed their early decision and expelled athletes from Russia and Belarus.
International Paralympic Committee President Andrew Parsons said that . . .
‘The IPC underestimated the negative reaction to letting Russians and Belarusians compete — even as neutral athletes.’
International sailing regattas and events must stand firm.
Yes, it is inconvenient, and yes, we are just recovering from a pandemic which devasted travel and are daily lives. But we now face a greater threat that cannot be cured by staying two metres apart and a couple of vaccinations.
Putin is relying on this myopic nimbyism to allow him to continue his violent landgrab and subjugation of democratic peoples.
Ukraine will not be the last . . .
Least we forget:
On 5 March 1946, in a speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, USA, the former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill condemned the Soviet Union’s policies in Europe and declared . . .
“From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent.”
In particular, he warned against the expansionistic policies of the Soviet Union, in addition to the ‘iron curtain’ that had descended across Eastern Europe.
Following the fall of the Berlin Wall, in 1991 the Soviet Union (USSR) itself dissolved into Russia and its component republics.
The Iron Curtain was lifted, and formally subjugated countries were free to elect democratic government and travel freely in western Europe again.
We are now seeing the return of the ‘iron curtain’ as Putin’s Russia continues its expansionist war.