Awards "Hero of Russia" Thomas Bach: true or false?

12:59 09 May Kyiv, Ukraine

The head of the IOC, Thomas Bach, is traditionally called a friend of Russia. Friendly relations with Russian oligarchs, regular whitewashing of Russian athletes from doping scandals, a source of income in Russia and attempts to lead the Russian Olympic team “through the minefields” to the 2024 Olympics are far from the whole spectrum of their relationship.

Back in 2014, immediately after the Sochi Games, Vladimir Putin handed out many awards. Thomas Bach received the state award of the Russian Federation - the Order of Honor for "contribution to the development of the international Olympic movement and the preparation of Russian athletes for the Winter Olympics in Sochi". The order bearer was not present at the presentation, and prefers to hide the award.

Moreover, in the summer of 2022, his representative said that the head of the IOC did not have any orders from Russia. The Russian Embassy in Berlin, which usually gives such awards to German citizens, declined to comment, but nevertheless does not deny this information.

The exchange of pleasantries between Bach and the Russians continued with the presentation in 2015 of the Silver Olympic Order to Irina Viner-Usmanova, head of the All-Russian Federation of Rhythmic Gymnastics.

The wife of the oligarch Alisher Usmanov thus received recognition of her outstanding services to the Olympic movement and assurance of personal sympathy. In 2019, the Head of the IOC presented the award to her husband, billionaire and part-time (at that time) President of the International Fencing Federation - Alisher Usmanov.

Apparently, the couple of oligarchs received such an honor solely due to their contribution to the sports movement, and not because of close ties with Vladimir Putin and the presence of the richest Russian businessmen in the top 10.

In 2019, the Usmanov family managed to thank Thomas Bach. Known for his love of grand gestures and expensive gifts, Alisher Usmanov secretly acquired Pierre de Coubertin's manifesto for $8.8 million.

The most expensive sports memorabilia ever sold, a 14-page document that outlines the key principles of the modern Olympic movement, was received in person by the IOC President before being transferred to the Olympic Museum.

Probably, in memory of such a generous gift and communication with the Usmanov couple, Bach was approached with calls to help lift sanctions against the Russian oligarch.

Given Usmanov’s current situation: sanctions, accusations of tax evasion in Germany in 2017-2022, suspicion of money laundering, German police searches of his villa in Bavaria, Bach is once again recommended to reconsider his more than close ties with the Russian Federation and be more circumspect when commenting on their possible participation in the 2024 Olympics.

It's time to remind the Head of the IOC of his own words that you should not mix politics and sports - because in his case, this could end badly. Yes, and IOC members should also not forget that the Olympic Committee is primarily a sport, and not business, corruption and intrigue.