Russian Olympic boss comments on potential mobilization of athletes
The president of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), Stanislav Pozdnyakov, has said athletes have an “honorable duty” to defend their motherland when called upon, just like other citizens.
Pozdnyakov was asked on Thursday how Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of partial mobilization one day previously could affect the nation’s athletes and sports teams.
“The ROC forms the Olympic team, the current members of the national teams are within the competence of the Center for Sports Training and the Ministry of Sports, so the question should rather be addressed there,” Pozdnyakov replied, according to TASS.
“But from the point of view of the ROC, we, as citizens of the country, consider service to the motherland is an honorable duty and the honorable duty of every citizen, including members of national teams.”
Russia’s CSKA (Central Sports Club of the Army) network of sports teams traditionally has links to the armed forces and includes football and ice hockey giants which bear its name, among others.
RIA Novosti reported on Wednesday that the association with the military would not mean athletes from CSKA are mobilized ahead of time.
“CSKA athletes have long been informed that they will be called up in the last waves [of mobilization]. Not so long ago, this information was confirmed again,” RIA reported, citing a source.
Shortly after President Putin announced partial mobilization, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu detailed that 300,000 reservists would be called up, and that it would not apply to university students or conscripts.
“These are not people who have never heard anything about the army. These are people who, firstly, completed their military service, and secondly, who have a military specialty… and have military experience,” Shoigu noted.
President Putin described the move as sensible and necessary due to the military campaign in Ukraine. He pledged that anyone called up would be provided with additional training and benefits.