German President Boycotts Sochi Olympics Over Russia’s Human Rights Violations

German President Joachim Gauck is the first world leader to boycott the Sochi Winter Olympics, the Guardian reports:

GauckAccording to German weekly Der Spiegel, Joachim Gauck last week informed the Kremlin of his decision, which is understood to be a response to the Russian government's violations of human rights and harrassment of the opposition.

Gauck, a former Lutheran pastor who played a key part in the East German protest movement before the fall of the Berlin Wall, has declined any official visits to Russia since coming to office in March 2012 and repeatedly criticised the country's "deficit of rule of law" and "air of imperialism".

In June, a scheduled meeting between Gauck and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, was cancelled – supposedly because of clashing schedules. Gauck had visited both the Olympics and the Paralympics in London last summer.


  1. Chris says

    But I thought handing billions of dollars over to a corrupt government that violates it’s own citizens human rights, AND giving them the honor of hosting the Olympics, all for the sake of “being visible” was better than boycotting!?

    I thought the idea that a few hundred athletes who weren’t even guaranteed a medal in the first place, were more important than the millions of Russian LGBTs being oppressed and scapegoated?

    Medals VS. The rights of millions, isn’t the decision obvious????

    Good to see that the President of Germany hasn’t lost his head as well.

  2. Q says

    Thank you President Gauck!

    I certainly believe this is probably the MOST important voice out there ready-and-willing to condemn Putin’s Russia.

    The Honorable Gauck and his countrymen KNOW A THING OR TWO about government sponsored Genocide

    …which is Putin and Huckster Kirill seem to have forgotten, or just simply long for.

    So, thank you sir! I hope other leaders will be bold enough to follow.

  3. Ken says

    Finally! A world leader with some cojones. I hate that athletes would not get to fulfill their dreams if a real boycott were to take place, but the needs of the many should always outweigh the needs (in this case wants) of the few.

  4. Paul R says

    Nice for the head of the Russian parliament’s foreign delegation to tweet, “The German president Gauck has not criticized the killing of children and women in Pakistan and Afghanistan. But he is so critical of Russia that he doesn’t even want to travel to Sochi.”

    Umm, yeah. I don’t recall Russia weeping when it invaded Afghanistan and caused hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions of refugees. Repeatedly.

  5. Q says

    Hansel Moron; And your point is what????

    Hey, Idea! Why don’t you get back to us when PUTIN does what Gauck has done? Then, and ONLY then would your post make any sense.

    Until then, you are just another idiot swimming in a pool waaaaay over your head

  6. woody says

    Now, if he and Westerwelle could only get their own government to stop denying marriage to gay people.
    The real head of state in Germany is not the president. It’s chancellor Angela Merkel, who continues to thwart gay marriage and is not in favor of boycotting the Sochi games.

  7. Hansel Currywurst says

    Bollox and Q: Your ability to detect the irony implied by the posters previous to me is nil. Their comments were effectively “Thanks President Gauck, but… you know… Germany… Hitler… Pot/Kettle/Black?” My comment was factual; do what you want with those facts.

    By the way, China’s Chairman Mao is the high-scorer with 60 million killed.

  8. oncemorewithfeeling says

    70 years after WWII, a German president is now showing us how you fight for freedom. We’ve come a long way since FDR. Remember when corporations didn’t own the US government? Good times.

  9. Troy says

    Who ever wrote this article needs to learn a little about political power. Mr. Haycock is not a world leader. He basically has no power in Germany what so ever. The people don’t even vote for him he is appointed. He is just a figure. Chancellor Merkel is the leader of Germany.

    I do applaud what he is doing but let’s see it how it is, just a man with the “title” of president but really no power to do anything in Germany.

  10. Bill says

    @Chris: the counter argument is that letting the athletes compete (in consideration of all the effort they put in) but with spectators boycotting the event would be more embarrassing to the Russians than moving the event elsewhere.

    If you move it elsewhere, people will not really notice (they’ll have forgotten that it was moved by the time it happens. If spectators don’t show, Russia loses a bundle of money and the empty seats will be visible for the duration.

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