Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

Playing dirty

When the slogan “O sport, you are peace” works in the exactly opposite direction
14 June, 2018 - 11:39
Sketch by Viktor BOGORAD

The world history of the last hundred years, that is, the era of totalitarian and neo-totalitarian regimes, has moved in zigzags, circles, and ellipses which seem strange to the outside observer. In fact, it has had a clear immanent logic with its own rules and algorithms. For example, when the relay race of the Olympic flame came to Bryansk on January 15, 2014, having traveled for a few months across Russia on its labyrinthine path to Sochi, the organizers laid out three towels with a total length of 156 meters; one of them was made in the city, while two others were brought from Belarus and Ukraine. “The unity of the three Slavic nations’ peoples has become the leitmotif of the entire relay race,” the Russian news agencies said with one voice. And in the following month, a special operation was launched to “bring Crimea back to the homeland,” followed by the so-called Russian Spring all over eastern and southern Ukraine. The slogan “O sport, you are peace” did not work as intended...

Interestingly, this was not the first such case in history. I say it because the slogan “unity of the peoples of all the German states” appeared for the first time when the Olympic flame crossed the border between Austria and Germany in 1936, and just a year and a half after the Berlin Olympics, troops of the Third Reich entered Vienna and the Austrian Anschluss took place. After a bit more than another half a year, the Munich Agreement surrendered a significant part of Czechoslovakia to Adolf Hitler. Another half a year passed, and the Wehrmacht entered Prague. Another half a year later, the war began.