— Published 24 November 2021

Putin should be in attendance


Unless there is an unlikely turnaround, Joe Biden will not make the trip to Beijing for the 2022 Winter Games. The American president could even announce a diplomatic boycott of the event in the coming days. On the other hand, Vladimir Putin is expected to attend. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed on Tuesday 23 November that arrangements were currently underway to prepare for the Russian president’s attendance at the opening ceremony on Friday 4 February 2022 in Beijing. Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told the media that Chinese President Xi Jinping had invited “his good friend Putin” to the ceremony, and that Putin had “gladly accepted the invitation.” According to the same spokesman, the invitation was a way for China to return the favour, after Xi Jinping was invited to the opening ceremony of the Sochi Winter Games in 2014. The two countries have reportedly already made progress on the details and conditions of Vladimir Putin’s trip to the Chinese capital. Russia is still excluded as a nation from the Olympic movement. In Beijing, its athletes will wear the colours of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC). Its sports leaders will not be present. But protocol states that a dignitary may attend the opening ceremony if invited by the host country.