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Estou rindo até agora com esta notícia do Moscou News: vão deixar a delegação russa sem vodca em Londres! Que absurdo! Isso é uma afronta a um símbolo nacional daquele país! Minha solidariedade aos camaradas que representarão a Mãe Rússia! Como é que o pessoal vai se preparar e comemorar as vitórias? É… o mundo está perdido mesmo…

Prohibition prescribed for Russian Olympic village in London

The Moscow News, by Evgeniya Chaykovskaya at 21/05/2012 19:00

Olympic rings in London

The organizers of the Russian House hospitality center in London will have to entertain Olympics guests minus vodka at every event where Russian athletes are present.

The decision was made at a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, who is head of the Russian delegation to London. The government’s decree concerns events run by the Russian Olympics Committee, Sochi 2014 Organization Committee, All-Russia Summer Sports Association and Bosco di Ciliegi, the company that provides Russia’s sports kits.

Kozak’s spokesman Ilya Dzhus confirmed the new rules to Kommersant.

“Olympic values are incompatible with drinking alcohol,” he said.

 Four houses, no alcohol

Four Russian hospitality houses will be open in London. The Russian Olympics Committee and Sochi-2014 will be in Russia’s Sochi Park opposite Royal Albert Hall close to Hyde Park.

Russian winners will be toasted at the Russian Olympics Committee headquarters in Sochi Park, but the committee does not plan on buying an alcohol license for the headquarters, the spokeswoman told Kommersant.

Sochi 2014 Organization Committee’s venue will host presentations of the “Sochi as Winter Olympics Capital” program, and also will not sell any alcohol.

Bosco di Ciliegi house will be working with Russia’s Sochi Park, and it is yet known whether they will sell liquor at events where there are no athletes present.

The all-Russia Summer Sports Association, headed by Novolipetsk steel owner Vladimir Lisin, could set up camp at 50 St James   Street, one of London’s most luxurious restaurants, sources said. 

No drinks for athletes

However, one of the federal officials who took part in Dmitry Kozak’s meeting, argued that Russian House organizers could hold parties with alcohol for corporate sponsors, but without the participation of athletes and members of official delegations.

The Sports Ministry develops a set of rules for the athletes and coaches before every Olympics, and usually there is a point about abstaining from nighttime parties and alcohol.

“The athletes themselves are keen on this, but sometimes there are sponsors who insists that the athletes follow their conditions meticulously, including being present at parties with alcohol,” the unnamed source in the ministry told Kommersant. 

Former glories

The authorities took this on-the-wagon approach after Russia was widely criticized at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, where its failure in the competition was framed by reports of loud parties in the Russian House hospitality center.

Russia then won a total of 15 medals instead of expected 30-50, and head of the Russian Olympics Committee, Leonid Tyagachev, was fired after then-prime minister Vladimir Putin demanded that measures be taken.

Rosneft’s parties, for example, had two mock gas pumps dispensing vodka and whiskey. In Vancouver, Russian Standard vodka was available to all the guests, participants and organizers of the Olympics in the Russian House, the company’s press-release said at the time.

Russian House at the Vancouver Olympics attracted long queues, and was visited by the prince of Monaco and “The Great One” Wayne Gretzky.

“Where else in Vancouver can you go to see a human jump-rope, taste-test five varieties of Ukrainian vodka and schmooze with the Prince of Monaco?” The Wall Street Journal reported at the time.

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