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Moscow slams Boris Johnson for comparing Russia's World Cup to Nazi Olympics

22 March, 2018, 01:19 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Christian Purslow said a boycott would show what the world thought of President Putin

England fans could be told not to travel to the Russian Federation for the Fifa World Cup this summer, Boris Johnson has suggested as he compared Vladimir Putin hosting the competition to Hitler presiding over the 1936 Olympics.

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said that the nerve agent attack on former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal was created to bolster support ahead of the recent Russian elections.

Speaking to Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday, Johnson agreed with a Labour politician who likened the event to the way Hitler used the Berlin Olympics in 1936.

Johnson said the global soccer tournament - to be held in the summer at locations throughout Russian Federation - will be "a [public relations] exercise" similar to that of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, who employed the Berlin Games as a tool for propaganda.

In the wake of the attempted murder by poisoning of a former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, Prime Minister Theresa May declared that no United Kingdom ministers or members of the British royal family will attend the tournament.

Asked whether he thought the England football team should withdraw from the competition, Johnson said it would be "wrong to punish" the team or England fans. "It's the duty under their Federation Internationale de Football Association contract to look after our fans", he told the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday.

The Foreign Secretary described Vladimir Putin's staging of the tournament as an "emetic prospect" and said he was "deeply concerned" at the treatment travelling England fans would receive.

The 1936 Olympics provided a propaganda opportunity for Hitler and his Nazi regime in Germany, with the run-up to the Games marked by debate over whether it should be boycotted by other nations - most prominently in the US.

He said only around 24,000 fans had applied to travel to Russian Federation compared to 94,000 who had expressed interest in going to Brazil.

"There's absolutely no way I would be going to Russian Federation to watch the national team".

"As many non-democratic figures do when facing an election or facing some political moment, it is often attractive to conjure up in the public imagination the notion of an enemy". "I think it would be a pity for them", he said. You can expect to be assassinated.

But Mr Johnson said it was becoming "clearer and clearer how reckless" the would-be assassins were "in their contempt for human life".

Johnson stressed that Britain "continues to extend the hand of friendship to the Russian people because the conflict did not happen with them", but with the leadership of the country.

He believes they will be at risk of violence, and the embassy will not be able to help them.


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