Staunton, December 17 -- As punishment for the Russian government’s doping program, the International Olympic Committee has declared that Russian athletes who do take part cannot march under the Russian flag but must instead compete under a neutral flag. Many Russians are outraged by this, but their outrage has generated some interesting proposals.
Russians are among those who support an idea being floated by others that no national flags should appear at these international sporting events given that individual athletes are competing rather than nations (newsland.com/community/5652/content/rossiia-bez-flaga-vse-bez-flagov-novaia-initsiativa-mok/6116054
newsland.com/community/8/content/alternativa-dlia-olimpiitsev-vystuplenie-pod-flagom-i-gimnom-sssr/6123212lenta.ru/news/2017/12/17/olympicruss/ and regnum.ru/news/society/2355770.html).
The most prominent figure to make the argument for regional flags has been Altai Senator Vladimir Poletayev who urged “Russian sportsmen to take to the winter Olympiad of 2018 the flags of their own regions instead of the [Russian] tricolor.” His suggestion may have support among ethnic groups and regionalists, but at least some Russians are furious.
Among Poletayev’s most vocal critics are Chelyabinsk oblast sports minister Leonid Oder, Urals Olympian Ivan Alypov, and figure-skating coach Tatyana Tarasova (ura.news/news/1052316874