"Our athletes are patriots": Russia also orders athletes to go to war

Russia orders hundreds of thousands of men for military service.

"Our athletes are patriots": Russia also orders athletes to go to war

Russia orders hundreds of thousands of men for military service. Including athletes. About a former soccer professional whose father is desperate because of it. In addition, he accuses, his convocation would also violate the guidelines. The sports minister emphasizes that all people are equal.

Hundreds of thousands of Russians are mobilized for aggressive war in Ukraine. Among them are obviously many top athletes. According to reports, some biathletes were called up in this way. And it also hit the former soccer professional Dinijar Biljaletdinow.

His father Rinat spoke about the shock at sports.ru. "Diniyar really got a call. It's hard to talk about these emotions." The now 37-year-old played a total of 46 times for the Russian national football team between 2005 and 2012. According to Rinat Biljaletdinow, his son never did any real military service. "He didn't serve. He took the oath, but it was a special service with a sporting focus. He spent his entire service on sport. That was 19 years ago when he played in the youth national team."

President Vladimir Putin actually announced when the Russian reservists were partially mobilized that only men who had done military service in the past would be drafted. 300,000 soldiers are said to be fighting in Ukraine in the future. They should also be under 35 years old. Apparently, this also affects top athletes who were able to concentrate on the sport during this time.

This annoyed Bilyaletdinov's father, because his son is already over the age limit: "If it were a general mobilization, there would be no doubt. But the president ordered a partial mobilization, then everything should be according to the law. We will now find out whether the letter is correct or maybe it was sent too early. Anything could have happened."

But his son, who played for Everton in the Premier League between 2009 and 2012 and retired in 2019, is not the only athlete to have received mail from the army. Biathletes are also affected, wrote one of the country's most well-known journalists, Dmitry Guberniev. "I inform you from reliable sources that numerous biathletes of our team, some of whom are Olympic or world championship medalists, have received orders to mobilize. In return, they forbid me to give their names publicly," he said. An understandable hint, after all, they face consequences if they publicly oppose Putin.

Viktor Maigurov, the president of the Russian Biathlon Union and a former three-time world champion himself, partially contradicted Guberniev: So far no athlete of the national team has received a summons. According to sportrbc.ru, however, he confessed: "Apparently, biathletes have received orders in some regions. We are taking steps to help them," he is quoted as saying by RIA Novosti Sport.

However, according to sports.ru, he also explained: "We are citizens of Russia. We are all equal, regardless of who does what, who works where. I can understand that very well. I don't think that someone should be committed and someone shouldn't ."

This was also emphasized by Minister of Sport Oleg Matitsin, who reacted to the reports. According to sports.ru, he said: "The law is the same for everyone, sport cannot be a community spared from the current situation, athletes must not be given preferential treatment, they are part of our fatherland, just like everyone else." He also said, "Our athletes are patriots who have supported the President."

"It looks like the end of the Russian sport," commented two-time Olympic skeleton athlete Vladyslav Heraskevych of Ukraine. The 23-year-old protested for peace in his home country at the Olympic Games in Beijing in February - even before the Russian attack. After crossing the finish line of the third run, he held up a sign with the Ukrainian flag and the words "No war in Ukraine" ("No War in Ukraine") to the cameras. "Like any normal person, I don't want war, I want peace in my homeland," the Ukrainian said at the train station in Yanqing.

His wish was not granted in Moscow. On February 24, Russia invaded Ukraine just four days after the end of the Olympic Games. Heraskevych's Twitter profile now says "activist" and "StandWithUkraine." After the war broke out, he set up a foundation to support Ukrainian victims of the war. Since the Russian attack, many of Heraskevych's sports colleagues have fought on the side of Ukraine. Including biathlete Dmytro Pidrutschnji and ex-tennis pro Sergej Stachowski.

The Russians are apparently facing the same thing. Many do not want to fight, they are fleeing the country in their thousands. At the borders with Finland and Georgia, for example, traffic jams have been building up for hours in the past few days. Five members of the Russian national football team are said to have refused to return to Russia after their team's friendly match in Kyrgyzstan at the weekend.

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