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German president to boycott Sochi Winter Olympics

Berlin (dpa) - German President Joachim Gauck will not travel to the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi in what is widely seen as a response to the Russian government's violation of human rights and persecution of opposition groups.



A spokesperson for the president’s office Sunday confirmed a report in Spiegel magazine that Gauck will not travel to the Games, stating that there is no set protocol in place for a German head of state to attend a Winter Olympics. Previous German president Horst Koehler also failed to attend the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada.

Gauck did attend the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games and also plans to welcome home Germany’s Olympic athletes on their return to Munich on February 24, his spokesperson Ferdos Ferudastan confirmed.

The German president has failed to make an official state visit to Russia since taking office in March 2012. There are protocol difficulties for a head of state to attend an Olympic Games if an

official state visit has not already taken place.

However, Gauck has repeatedly criticized Russia’s deficit of rule of law and treatment of critical media. A planned visit in June 2012 failed to take place after Russian President cited time constraints.


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