Russia Said To Bar Political Activists from Sochi Games

Activists say they were denied extra documentation required to attend the games

  • Share
  • Read Later

Like TIME on Facebook for more breaking news and current events from around the globe!

Political activists in Russia have claimed the Sochi Olympic Committee is denying them credentials they need to gain access to the Winter Olympics, according to The New York Times. 

To gain access to the Games, attendees are required to hold Olympic passports, special documents that allow them access to sporting venues. The additional credentials are part of a massive security operation to protect Sochi, after terror threats from insurgents. But some activists claim that the Russian Olympic Committee is using the additional security measures to deny them entrance, even as fans. Several activists told the Times that they hoped to attend hockey games, but were denied the extra credentials.

Sergei Fadeyev, an opposition blogger and member of the Democratic Choice party, managed to get a ticket to a Russian hockey game and a fan pass; however, last fall, he received a text message saying his pass had been revoked. “I have no criminal background. I’m not a terrorist,” he told the Times, arguing he is being barred for his political beliefs. “My rights simply don’t exist.”

Additional security measures in Sochi include electronic chips, which allow authorities to track attendees. The State Department advised that tourists headed to Sochi would be better off leaving their smartphones and laptops at home, because their communications will be intercepted.