This is another video from the series “5 Minutes of Common Sense” by the Russian political analysis Ruslan Ostashko. In this video, Ruslan is expressing his views on the ban imposed by the IOC on the participation of the Russian team in the winter Olympic games in the South Korea and on the steps Russia could have taken.

Commentary by Eugenia who translated and subtitled this video (thanks Eugenia!!):

I usually find Ruslan’s analysis convincing but not this time. In his zeal to condemn our officials whom all Russians love to hate, Ruslan got carried away, and in his argument ended up shifting the blame from the guilty party to the one, well, not so guilty.

Could the Russian officials have responded more aggressively to the challenge to our Olympic sport? Perhaps, although this is not as easy as Ruslan makes it sound. The US defamation, libel and slander law is tricky, and Canadian one is only slightly more plaintiff-friendly. Besides, neither the US nor Canadian courts would be unbiased in cases where Russia is concerned, particularly in the present atmosphere.

When Ruslan states that if the Russian sports officials had done their duty, none of this would have been possible – this is a bit naïve. The campaign against the Russian Olympic sport has been conducted for several years with grim determination and complete disregard for any rules or the truth. Now it reached its culmination: as assault on the national psyche right before the presidential elections. Does anyone honestly think a dozen or even hundreds of pending lawsuits would have stopped this? Ruslan mentioned a popular Russian saying. Here is another one for you: “No trick works against a crowbar, except another crowbar”. And that’s precisely what we are up against.

The example Ruslan refers to of the Yukos verdict of $50 billion is beside the point. At that time, the West wasn’t yet mad enough (although it is rapidly moving in that direction) to undermine its own economic and financial system for the pleasure of showing Russia the middle finger. Moreover, it was evident that Russia would not pay, and the ensuing economic war would injure both parties.

With the Olympics, the West risks nothing of the sort. They were careful to undermine the Russian ability to hit the IOC financially by allowing a few select “clean” athletes to attend. This would likely be conditional on Russia paying for broadcasting rights, the main source of the IOC revenues. The Russian TV corporation previously announced that it would not broadcast the games if the Russian team does not participate. Now, if some athletes do, it will have to. Actually, only boycott would have permitted Russia to exert some financial pressure on the IOC but Ruslan argues against that, which is a bit inconsistent.

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