— Published 2 January 2023

Putin enters the debate

The issue of sport is proving to be very fashionable in the Kremlin as the year passes. After Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko, who has made a number of declarations over the past week, Vladimir Putin himself enters the debate. The Russian president took advantage of a telephone conversation on Friday 30 December with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, to remind them that sport and politics should remain separate. Quoted by the RIA Novosti agency, during his conversation he mentioned the recent Russian-Chinese Winter Youth Games, organised in Changchun, an event which, according to Vladimir Putin, “confirmed once again that sport is universal, and that international competitions should give people joy and a sense of unity, and not be used for short-term political objectives“. During the same call, the Russian president reportedly invited Xi Jinping to come to Moscow in 2023 for a more formal meeting. A way of returning his invitation from the last Winter Games in Beijing, where Vladimir Putin was at the top of Xi Jinping’s guest list at the opening ceremony.