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‘We can't allow them to break us’ How Russian network television is addressing the country's 2018 Winter Olympics ban

Source: Meduza

The TV show “Vremya Pokazhet” (Time Will Tell), which airs on the Russian network Pervyi Kanal, devoted its most recent broadcast to the International Olympic Committee’s decision to ban Russia’s national team from the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea. This is a paraphrased retelling of that episode. Direct quotes appear in — you guessed it — quotation marks.

The show opened with the following remark: “If given a choice between war and shame, and you choose shame, you won’t avoid war.” (They were speaking figuratively, of course.)

The IOC’s decision against Russia is a “humiliation” and a “blow below the belt.” Russia won’t take the blame here! The country’s athletes have a choice to make: either you’re a patriot or you’re going to the Winter Games. “Just imagine finishing the race [in first place] and there’s no [Russian] flag!” If Russian athletes go to South Korea and win medals, that’s great for them, but it’s “humiliation and the collapse of a dream for a huge country.” Russia’s civic responsibility is being tested right now. “They didn’t get us with sanctions,” and now they’re trying to break us with this.

Pentathlete Yolanda Chen: It’s easy to be a couch patriot and talk about a boycott, but it would threaten Russia with suspension for two Olympic cycles (no Russia in the Olympics for another eight years).

Deputy Speaker of the State Duma Pyotr Tolstoy: “We will wait it out. All eternity lies ahead of us!” The country’s humiliation would be far worse than missing out on future Olympic Games.

They’ve painted us as the guilty ones. The Olympic movement discredited itself when it reversed the disqualification of the U.S. women’s 400-meter relay team, after Allyson Felix dropped the baton. If Russia boycotts the Winter Games, other countries will lure away our athletes. “A Jesuit order has seized power in the IOC,” since they’ll allow us our flag, but only at the closing ceremony. We can’t allow them to “break us.” We have to support those who stay home and those who go to compete.

We won’t give up Because you’re with us

Russian text by Mikhail Zelenskiy, translation by Kevin Rothrock

Photo on front page: Pervyi Kanal