German President Joachim Gauck is boycotting the Winter Olympics to be held next year in Sochi, Russia.

Daily Der Spiegel reported Sunday that Gauck last week informed the Russian government of his decision not to travel to Sochi.

Gauck has yet to visit Russia since taking office last March. He did attend last year's Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in London.

The decision is widely understood to be a response to repeated human rights violations by the Russian government. Passage of a law which prohibits the promotion of “gay propaganda” to minors provoked calls for a boycott of the Winter Olympics.

Gauck is the first major political figure to boycott the Sochi Games.

Alexei Pushkov, the head of the Russian State Duma, responded in a tweet: “Gauck never condemned the killing of children and women in Pakistan and Afghanistan. But he denounces Russia [so strongly] he could not go to Sochi.”