War in Ukraine. Sport, “a symbol, a pebble in Putin’s shoe”

The impact on the Russian population is difficult to estimate. They are seen by the elites as an illegal weapon used by Westerners to isolate Russia. Power responds in two ways: challenging decisions before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, and the desire to create another sporting microcosm, towards Eurasia.

What is the weight of these penalties?

It is of course not the same as economic and diplomatic sanctions, sport remains symbolic. It is a small stone in the shoe of Putin, who has built up and is devoid of a wide and precise system of influence in the sport. This explains why the sanctions have sometimes been slow and imposed to see if they will last: the international sports authorities have a known tendency to go back on their words, such a scenario cannot be ruled out.

Sports organizations tend to go back on their words, this cannot be ruled out

Some articles are announcing that football is in the lead on sanctions, but nevertheless, did FIFA have a bit of a pull before Russia was banned from the 2022 World Cup?

Yes, FIFA was good last, which we can understand because the World Cup is the next big event, while for the IOC the Olympics was over, the Paralympic Games don’t have the same importance. Historically, FIFA has always struggled to punish authoritarian regimes, we know its President Gianni Infantino’s ties to Putin, he did not hesitate to say that the 2018 World Cup was the greatest in history and that an authoritarian leader can be the best are to organize a World Cup.

To date, are there more Russian athletes showing their support or opposition to the invasion of Ukraine?

A dozen spoke out against the invasion, but momentum stopped when the Russian government passed a law threatening 15 years in prison for those who criticize it. Those abroad may be concerned that they will not be allowed to return to Russia, that their families will be mistreated.

A palace revolution is a hypothesis that I consider credible today, not certain but possible.


Vladimir Putin has woven into the sports world a real spider web of bound people, the “sportokratura”

Lukas Aubin

Could Roman Abramovich and the Other Oligarchs Turn Against Vladimir Putin?

A palace revolution is a hypothesis that I did not consider two weeks ago, I consider it credible today, not sure, but possible. Oligarchs like Oleg Tinkov and Oleg Dripaska have raised their voices against the war, that’s an indication. The decision to go to war is not to everyone’s taste, we can expect tongues to wag. The agreement between Putin and the oligarchs was based on a pact: do not criticize the regime and I will leave you free to do business abroad. It was Putin who broke the pact because they are no longer able to do business.

The sports leaders of clubs and associations appointed by Putin can make their voices heard, not because they are losing influence in the sports world, but because they too are businessmen. The economy is the most important, sport is a symbol.

Lukas Aubin, geopolitical scientist, researcher at the Institute of International and Strategic Research

Lukas Aubin, geopolitical scientist, researcher at the Institute of International and Strategic Research

(1). At Éditions Bréal, €15. Sportokratura is not a Russian word, but a neologism invented by the author that combines sport, nomemklatura and kratos, a Greek word meaning strength, power, a concept dear to its thesis director, Jean -Robert Raviot, who “Russia , towards a new Cold War? » published in 2016