EU Commissioner to Boycott Winter Olympics
European Union Commissioner for Justice, Citizenship and Fundamental Rights Viviane Reding announced on Tuesday that she will not attend the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia in February because of the country’s anti-gay law, Reuters reports.
"I will certainly not go to Sochi as long as minorities are treated the way they are under the current Russian legislation," Reding tweeted Tuesday.
Reuters reports that it is currently unclear if Reding was invited to the Olympics or if she would have gone as an EU representative or a private citizen. Nevertheless, her decision to boycott the Games is the most vocal statement by any politician.
Reding follows in the footsteps of German President Joachim Gauck, who announced over the weekend that he would be not attending the Winter Olympics, though he did not specifically say why. Nevertheless, human rights activists and Germany’s human rights commissioner, lauded Gauck’s decision.
Soon after his announcement, Alexei Pushkov, the Kremlin-connected head of the Russian parliament’s lower house, took to Twitter to respond.
"Gauck never condemned the killing of children and women in Pakistan and Afghanistan. But he denounces Russia (so strongly) he would not go to Sochi," he wrote.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke against boycotting the games in Sochi last August, responding to Russia’s "homosexual propaganda" law. She said the games in February would focus attention on such issues, and that athletes would be most impacted by a boycott.