Repeating Hitler's 1936 Olympics?
Thanks to the alleged Russian nerve agent attack in the quiet English town of Salisbury, relations are now at the worst between London and Moscow since the Cold War. Understandably, EU and the NATO are with UK and the Salisbury plot has all the ingredients that even the fabled James Bond creator, Ian Fleming, would have stayed away from. Matters have since escalated to the point that the UK Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, is under growing pressure from MPs to issue a clear warning to football fans about the risks of travelling to this summer's showpiece in Russia. All this in the aftermath of the Salisbury poisoning that has left former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia critically ill after being poisoned with a "military grade" nerve agent called Novichok, developed in Soviet laboratories during the Cold War. The Foreign Secretary said: "I think the comparison with Hitler's hosting the 1936 Berlin Olympics is right.. It is an emetic prospect, frankly, to think of Vladimir Putin glorying in this sporting event."
The 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin has gone down in history for being used by Hitler to showcase his Nazi regime to the world and to promote his vile views on racial supremacy. The dictator was left terribly embarrassed, however, when the black US athlete Jesse Owens finished as a four-time gold medal winner. Boris Johnson angered Russia diplomats with his Nazi comparison. But while he ruled out his Government calling for a boycott of the World Cup, he acknowledged there were safety concerns for fans. "And we do indeed need to have an urgent conversation with the Russians about how they propose to fulfil their obligations under their Fifa contract to look after all fans." These worries had been exacerbated by the expulsion of the British Embassy official who had been put in charge of overseeing fan safety. He was among 23 UK diplomats expelled from Russia earlier this week in a tit-for-tat retaliation at sanctions imposed by Theresa May in response to the Salisbury incident. The Foreign Secretary pointed out that only about 24,000 England fans had applied for tickets to the World Cup in Russia, compared with 94,000 who went to the last tournament held in Brazil in 2014. But his challenge now to the Russian authorities is to show that the 24,000 UK applicants for tickets to the football World Cup are going to be well treated and safe in Russia. Johnson's drawing comparison with Hitler's 1936 Olympics has naturally enraged the Russians. Moscow's Ambassador to London reminded everyone that 25 million of their people had perished in the Second War. That, incidentally, was when the British and Russians were allies!