9 Nordic Aquatics Federations Say They Won’t Compete in Russia or Belarus

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 15

February 26th, 2022 News

The leaders of 9 Nordic swimming federations met on Friday and on Saturday released a joint letter declaring that they will not attend any event staged in Russia or Belarus and calling for a complete banishment of the two countries from participation in international aquatics.

The letter was signed by the presidents of the aquatics federations from Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, and Sweden.

None of those individuals are members of the decision-making FINA Bureau, but Denmark’s Pia Johansen and Faroe Islands’ Rokur I Jakupsstovu were recently elected to the LEN Bureau that governs European aquatics.

These are the first national federations to speak out against Russian participation at all levels of aquatics and to announce a boycott of any Russian-hosted events.

That includes Russian federation president Vladimir Salnikov, who currently serves on the FINA Bureau.

Several Ukrainian athletes, including Ukrainian swimmer Andriy Govorov, have spoken out, saying that Russian swimmers should be barred from all international aquatics events because of the country’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this week. Russian swimmers have pushed back on social media, saying that they should not have to feel ashamed of their country and that they want peace, though most have stopped short of explicitly condemning the actions of their president Vladimir Putin.

One Russian Olympic swimmer, Maxim Stupin, commented in Russian on Instagram on Friday that “time will pass, then you will say thank you” in response to criticism of Vladimir Putin.

Others have called for silence from the international sporting community on the topic, saying that sport is not a place for politics and that they feel discriminated against because of their nationality.

While many international federations for sports have pulled all events from Russia for the foreseeable future, FINA still has not publicly announced a plan to withdraw August’s World Junior Championships or December’s World Short Course Swimming Championships from Kazan.

The Danish Federation, which is a signatory of today’s letter, released a report saying that FINA had made the decision, but when pressed by SwimSwam, a spokesperson said that “it seems we have misinterpreted the current status from FINA.”

Brazilian journalist Alex Pussieldi is still reporting that FINA has already decided to withdraw the events, but have not decided to where they’ll be moved.

Other more minor FINA and LEN events have been withdrawn from Russia.

Countries and sports teams have also begun to lay sporting sanctions onto athletes and teams themselves. The UK on Saturday canceled visas issued to the Belarusian Men’s Basketball Team, while men’s national soccer teams from Poland and Sweden are refusing to play against Russia in World Cup qualifying events because of the invasion.

Poland, a NATO member, and Sweden, a non-NATO member, face great risk if Russia successfully conquers and occupies Ukraine, because that moves their countries closer to the front-lines of the Russia’s expansionism.

The signatories of the letter from Nordic nations stopped short of saying that their athletes would not compete against Russian or Belarusian athletes.

The full letter is below:

“The Nordic Swimming Federations strongly condemn the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian government supported by the government of Belarus. We call on the international aquatics’ community, and especially FINA, to immediately suspend Russia and Belarus from all involvement in international aquatics until a peaceful resolution of this conflict. All parties should be able to take part in future sporting activities on equal terms.

Actions should include the relocation or cancellation of all events currently planned in Russia or Belarus, as already requested by the International Olympic Committee, and the exclusion of representatives of Russia and Belarus from all recognized aquatics events and governing bodies. Ukrainian athletes have been forced to defend their homes and families, and are unable to train or compete solely because of the inhuman actions of the Russian and Belarusian governments. Until this situation is resolved, Russia and Belarus should not take part in international aquatics at any level.

The Nordic Swimming Federations will not attend any event staged in Russia or Belarus as the situation stands, including the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships and the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) which is scheduled for Kazan, Russia later this year.

Our hearts go out to the Ukrainian people who now suffer under this brutal act of war, and to our dear friends in the aquatics family who are now pushed into a fight for survival rather than for sporting glory.

  • Denmark – Pia M. Johansen, president
  • Estonia – Simon Renno, president
  • Faroe Islands – Rokur I Jakupsstovu, president
  • Finland – Ville Riekkinen, president
  • Iceland – Bjorn Sigurosson, president
  • Latvia – Aivars Platonovs, president
  • Lithuania – Tomas Kucinskas, president
  • Norway – Cato Bratbakk, president
  • Sweden – Pia Zatterstrom, president

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Petr Ivanov
11 months ago

North Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and other countries caused large-scale tragedies that claimed many lives. Under the pretext of “humanitarian interventions”, the United States destroyed the established order there, brought disasters and misfortunes to these lands. No complains / No one ask for sunctions for USA. 15 000 kiled for last 8 yearsd in Donetsk and Lugansk by Ukranian army . No one noticed.

11 months ago

Vladimir Salnikov’s life can make a good biography. Once a young Soviet distance king who was out of 84 Olympics due to a boycott, and now a Russian official who might be barred from international aquatics due to this.

11 months ago

That little mf Stupin has already removed his comment about “you will thank [Pootin] later” and now is claiming that he wants only peace.
Damn, I write this comment while sitting in a dark room in Kyiv and listening to the sounds of explosions not far away. Total ban of everything Russian is the next thing I want after staying alive through all this madness.

Reply to  Zhenia
11 months ago

Who downvotes this? All I can do is wish you well and hope you are safe.

Reply to  Zhenia
11 months ago

Stay alive brother!

Reply to  Zhenia
11 months ago

Stupin more like stupid amiriteguys amirite hahaha
…You’ll get your money back

Corn Pop
11 months ago

EURO drama !

11 months ago

This is a good start. Don’t let any swimmers from any country compete in Russia and don’t let any Russian swimmers compete in any meets outside of Russia. Same with Russian NHL hockey players. Send them back home.

11 months ago

Will Sjöström accept to compete with Shymanovich, Kolesnikov and Rylov in their ISL Team ? Will the swedish federation allow her to ?

Human Ambition
Reply to  Swimfan
11 months ago

Follow up question: What will happen with ISL? Owner is cited by Wikipedia as ”Russian/Ukrainian with 95% of his business concentrated in Ukrainian assets”.

Last edited 11 months ago by Human Ambition
Corn Pop
Reply to  Human Ambition
11 months ago

Depends on what list he is on by both sides. .

Reply to  Human Ambition
11 months ago

I imagine all the oligarchs have hidden their money well. Hope not, but probably so

Reply to  Human Ambition
11 months ago

I think the ISL is done/finished, unless they can find another deep pocketed sponsor.

Reply to  Swimfan
11 months ago

This was one of the last sentences before the “Letter”: The signatories of the letter from Nordic nations stopped short of saying that their athletes would not compete against Russian or Belarusian athletes.

So I take that as they will not impose a ruling on that at this time.

Stewart 100 back gold in Fukuoka
Reply to  Swimfan
11 months ago

Sjostrom is currently training in the same pool with Anastasia Shkurdai per instagram.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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