Russia’s Olympic ban strengthens Vladimir Putin’s reelection hand

Opinion polls exhibit Vladimir Putin has already been a shoo-in to win a fourth presidential term. But a ban on Russia taking part in the Winter months Olympics could make support for him also stronger, by uniting voters around his message: The globe is against us.

Putin, who offers dominated Russia’s political scenery for the last 17 years, declared Wednesday that he will run found in March’s presidential election.

With ties between the Kremlin and the West at their lowest stage for years, the International Olympic Committee’s decision to bar Russia from the 2018 Pyeongchang Games over doping is seen in Moscow as a humiliating and politically tinged act.

Konstantin Kosachyov, head of the upper property of parliament’s foreign affairs committee, was among the first to cast the maneuver within a dark Western plot against his country, which sees sport as a barometer of geopolitical clout.

“There can be no doubt that this is the main West’s overall coverage of holding Russia rear,” Kosachyov wrote on sociable media. “They happen to be targeting our nationwide honor … our status … and our pursuits. They (the West) bought out the traitors … and orchestrated media hysteria.”

The IOC ruling can be seen by many in Russia as an individual affront to Putin, who was re-elected president in 2012 after spending four years as prime minister since the constitution barred him from a third consecutive term as head of state.

The sport-loving leader cast his hosting of the 2014 Sochi Winter months Olympics, of which the IOC says there was “unprecedented systematic manipulation” of the anti-doping system, as a symbol of RussiaΓÇÖs success under his rule.

But Putin has quite often extracted political reap the benefits of crises, and turned international setbacks into domestic triumphs, by accusing the West of gunning for Russia and working with this to inspire Russians to unite.

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