According to The Guardian, France will not be sending any of its top officials to the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. According to France’s foreign minister, Laurent Labius, neither President François Hollande nor any of France’s top officials will attend the games.
Only a week ago, German president, Joachim Gauck, said that he was not attending the games. While both Labius and Gauck have not said outright why they’ve chosen to decline attending the Games, many believe that Russia’s anti-gay policies and human rights abuses may be partly the reason. Gauck has gone on record criticizing Russia’s “deficit of rule of law” and “air of imperialism.” European deputy head Viviane Reding will not be attending either.
Though Russia’s human rights abuses may be the cause for these boycotts, this may not be the only reason if a reason at all. Tensions between Russia and Europe have become increasingly tense as of late. This Russia vs. the West friction has recently come to a head in the Ukriane. Russia, possibly fearing that European goods would flood its market or possibly just wishing to consolidate its power, pressured the Ukriane into refusing to sign a free trade agreement with the EU. This caused the protests and riots in the country’s capital Kiev. Protests continue to this day.
The Sochi Olympics are the most expensive in history. According to NPR the expected cost is over $50 billion.