A feud between Belarusian Olympic sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya and team officials that prompted her to seek refuge in the European Union has again cast a spotlight on the repressive environment in the athlete’s home country, an ex-Soviet nation where authorities have unleashed a relentless crackdown on dissent.
Tsimanouskaya told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the team officials who hustled her to the airport and tried to send her back to Belarus made it clear she would “definitely face some form of punishment” after she criticized the management of her team on social media
So, what's behind this athlete's Olympic crisis and asylum?
To have a in-depth look, we have Elena Korosteleva, Prof. of International Politics, University of Kent on the show tonight.
Tsimanouskaya arrived in Poland on Wednesday after being granted a humanitarian visa after seeking political asylum. First of all, give us a bit of a background on what's behind this athlete's Olympic crisis.
The Belarusian leader and his son both have been banned from the Tokyo Olympics by the International Olympic Committee, which investigated complaints from athletes that they faced reprisals and intimidation during the crackdown on protests in the country. Why couldn't the IOC give more aid to this particular athlete then?
In the midst of COVID-19 and people in Belarus protested that the president didn't have the leadership to control and prevent more cases. In this time of pandemic, how could other nations help the people with their human rights at stake?
U.S. slapped more sanctions on Belarus and the Belarus Olympic Committee. Will they work?
Elena Korosteleva, Prof. of International Politics, University of Kent, thanks for your insights. We appreciate it.