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