Russia: Sochi Gives Rise to New Type of Refusenik
Russian authorities seem intent on keeping the country's civil society activists away from the Sochi Olympics - even if all they are interested in is attending the sporting events.
The means with which Moscow is accomplishing this aim is the "Olympic Passport," or spectator pass, which all ticket holders to Sochi events are required to obtain. Ostensibly, it is an extra security measure, a requirement that no other host country has imposed to date. After purchasing a ticket for a ceremony or sporting event, each ticket holder must apply for the spectator pass online, to be picked up in Sochi and presented on entering Olympic venues.
Russian authorities reserve the right to refuse anyone a spectator pass for any reason. A story in the February 5 edition of The New York Times looks at how the opaque decision process is enabling rights abuses.
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