The IOC has become the "lapdog" of Vladimir Putin – a new memorandum on the human rights situation in the Caucasus!

Olympic Winter Games in Sochi – Criticism against Thomas Bach

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) has expressed sharp criticism against the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach. The Göttingen-based human rights organization published an open letter to Bach, accusing the IOC of becoming the "lapdog" of Vladimir Putin and of betraying the Olympic ideal of tolerance and peace. Despite several appeals, also by the STP, Bach did not try to advocate for an end to Putin's inhuman politics and for more freedom rights for the people in Russia. Obviously, the IOC-President has simply accepted that Putin is using the preparations for the Olympic Games to sustain his power by means of new suppressive laws.

According to the STP's letter to Bach, Russia is less free and less democratic nowadays than it was a year ago. There are measures against non-governmental organizations, civil society actors, migrants and minority groups – under the pretext of having to ensure safety for the Olympic Games. The civilian population of the northern Caucasus region is suffering, especially in the immediate vicinity of Sochi. In a new 20-page memorandum, the STP describes the depressing situation of the local civilian population – also with regard to the traumatic historical context of the genocide against the Circassians 150 years ago, the collective deportation of the Chechens, the Ingush and the Karachay-Balkar under Stalin in 1943/1944 as well as the Chechen wars from 1994 to 1996 and from 1999 to 2009.

In Chechnya, the people – who are traumatized by the two wars – live in constant fear of arrest, torture and disappearances because of dictator Ramzan Kadyrov. Dagestan is on the edge of a civil war. There are many terrorist attacks – and the police, intelligence and military forces react with counter-violence, also causing victims among the civilian population. Also, the newly formed Circassian movement in the republics of Adygea, Karachay-Cherkessia and Kabardino-Balkaria is being suppressed.

"When the Winter Olympics are finally opened on February 7, 2014, the world will be looking on a region of the Russian Federation that is shaken by serious human rights violations. Large parts of the population are suffering from the consequences of war and crime, state arbitrariness and terror as well as poverty and corruption," as Sarah Reinke, CIS-consultant of the Society for Threatened Peoples, sums up the situation. "The people of Dagestan, Chechnya or Kabardino-Balkaria could not benefit from the preparations for Sochi. On the contrary: the repressions have increased again!"

You can download the open letter (in German) here.

You can download our Memorandum (in German) here.