French President to Snub Sochi Games
It appears there will be a few extra VIP seats available to the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics this February. Neither French President Francois Hollande nor any top French official will attend the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia’s Sochi. The announcement was made on Sunday by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. Reuters reports.
In a statement made to Europe 1 radio, Fabius said, "There are no plans to attend." Fabius further stated that, "Top French officials have no plans to be there."
The announcement of the French snub comes less than a week after German President Jauchim Gauck announce that he would not be attending the games. Germany’s human rights commissioner praised Gauck’s announcement as a "wonderful gesture."
As with the announcement from Germany, Fabius did not go further into the matter.
In addition to announcements from France and Germany, European Commission deputy head Vivian Reding has also said she was not attending.
According to British newspaper The Guardian, eighty kings, queens, presidents and world leaders were in attendance at the 2012 Summer Games in London.
The decisions not to attend the games comes amid months of scrutiny and criticism surrounding human rights violations in Russia as a result the controversial "gay propaganda" law passed unanimously earlier this year by Russia’s parliament and signed by President Vladimir Putin.
According to the BBC , Putin has staked his personal prestige on staging a successful Olympics in an effort to showcase his country, analysts say.