How Athletes Are Defending Democracy In Belarus

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Dictatorships often use professional sports to cover up their crimes and establish international legitimacy. In Belarus, the regime of Alexander Lukashenko is particularly invested in Ice Hockey as a means of promoting his regime. However, in January Belarusians convinced the International Ice Hockey Federation to cancel the Ice Hockey World Championships in Minsk in order to prevent Lukashenko from using the event to distract from human rights violations. HRF’s Alexander Sikorski speaks to Anatoly Kotov of the Belarus Sports Solidarity Foundation about how athletics are used by authoritarian regimes, why Belarusians pressured the IIHF and other international sporting bodies to boycott sports events in Belarus, and how Belarusian athletes have stood up for freedom and democracy in Belarus.

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