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Today, 71 Members of the Riigikogu sent a communication to the President of France Emmanuel Macron and the President of the France-Estonia friendship group in the National Assembly Luc Lamirault, advocating against allowing athletes with a Russian or a Belarus passport to the 2024 Olympic Games in France.

The Members of the Riigikogu write in their communication, which was initiated by the Estonia-France Parliamentary Friendship Group, that the decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to allow athletes from aggressor states Russia and Belarus to participate in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games as „neutral“ athletes goes against our values. “The IOC decision to let “neutral” individuals to take part was described as “respecting human rights.” We think that murder, destruction, and terror does not go together with Olympic principles,” they wrote.

The Members of the Riigikogu pointed out that since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the office of the Ukrainian Prosecutor General has recorded more than 110,000 cases of war crimes. “That is why we think that until the war is brought to an end, Russian and Belarussian athletes should not be allowed to take part in international competition, including the Olympic Games, the world’s foremost sports competition,” they stated in the communication.

The Members of the Riigikogu referred to the decision of the Riigikogu from the 18 October 2022 to declare Russia a terrorist regime and the Russian Federation a country that supports terrorism, whose actions must be confronted together. “It is usual for dictators and authoritarian regimes to weaponize sport as an instrument of expanding their influence. For Russia and the Putin regime sport is primarily a political tool; this has been clearly demonstrated by the fact that Russia has a state-sponsored doping programme,” they emphasised.

The Members of the Riigikogu feel unable to ignore the fact that those athletes are supported by their governments, as well as businesses backing up current regimes in Russia and Belarus. “Moreover, we have seen over recent years that Russia has been exploiting the presence of “neutral“ athletes at international competitions in its state propaganda, which includes glorifying the aggressor’s military and promoting military recruitment. A ban on Russian athletes currently serving in the military does not adequately prevent that,” they warned.

The Members of the Riigikogu feel the moral obligation to stand for peace in Europe and they cannot simply refrain from acting when the IOC decides to allow aggressor states’ athletes to participate in the 2024 Olympic Games. They also pointed out that the decision is contrary to the official values of the IOC itself.

“Therefore, we, the undersigned Members of the Estonian Parliament, call on the Republic of France as the host country to not let athletes with Russian and Belarussian passport to enter France in 2024 for the Olympic Games. This has to be done for the sake of the Ukrainian sporting community, athletes around the world, and future generations who deserve to live in a world where aggression as a political tool has been completely discredited and the values we hold dear as part of the Olympic movement have been maintained,” they declared in the communication.

The communication was signed by the President of the Estonia-France Parliamentary Friendship Group Andres Sutt, and the members of the Group Toomas Kivimägi, Eerik-Niiles Kross, Anastassia Kovalenko-Kõlvart, Lauri Laats, Eero Merilind, Liisa-Ly Pakosta, Heljo Pikhof, Henn Põlluaas, Mati Raidma, Kersti Sarapuu, Aivar Sõerd, Vilja Toomast, and Kristo Enn Vaga.

Members of the Riigikogu Jaak Aab, Annely Akkermann, Yoko Alender, Anti Allas, Arvo Aller, Rain Epler, Andre Hanimägi, Anti Haugas, Lauri Hussar, Züleyxa Izmailova, Karmen Joller, Mario Kadastik, Raimond Kaljulaid, Liina Kersna, Tanel Kiik, Meelis Kiili, Signe Kivi, Mait Klaassen, Rene Kokk, Leo Kunnas, Katrin Kuusemäe, Helmen Kütt, Hanah Lahe, Alar Laneman, Maris Lauri, Jürgen Ligi, Priit Lomp, Mart Maastik, Andres Metsoja, Marko Mihkelson, Tõnis Mölder, Jevgeni Ossinovski, Pärtel-Peeter Pere, Õnne Pillak, Anti Poolamets, Juku-Kalle Raid, Reili Rand, Valdo Randpere, Jüri Ratas, Marek Reinaas, Maido Ruusmann, Luisa Rõivas, Helir-Valdor Seeder, Andrus Seeme, Pipi-Liis Siemann, Riina Solman, Kalev Stoicescu, Margit Sutrop, Kadri Tali, Peeter Tali, Tarmo Tamm, Igor Taro, Tanel Tein, Urve Tiidus, Toomas Uibo, Jaak Valge, and Kristina Šmigun-Vähi also signed the communication.

Full text of the communication in Estonian, French, and English.

For more information, please contact:

Andres Sutt
President of the Estonia-France Parliamentary Friendship Group
504 3402
[email protected]