In a communique published on April 25, the International Skating Union (ISU) announced its decisions with respect to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the participation of Belarus in enabling such invasion.
A questionnaire was sent to all ISU member federations in early April asking for feedback on proposed changes for the upcoming season. These proposals, which were widely supported by many member nations, are to protect other competitors and to maintain the integrity of ISU competitions.
At an online meeting on April 24, Council reviewed the responses it received from member nations, and the following decisions were made:
1. Until further notice no skaters from Russia or Belarus will be invited or allowed to participate in ISU international competitions, including Championships and other events. The same applies to officials listed in the respective ISU communications and/or Regulations; and
2. Until further notice no international competitions shall be held in Russia or Belarus. Consequently, Rostelecom Cup will not be included in the Grand Prix Series for the 2022-2023 season.
The ISU is now actively seeking a new host to replace Rostelecom Cup on the Grand Prix circuit.
Based on the feedback received from other member nations, the ISU is proposing that a new paragraph be added to its Constitution, to be voted on at Congress in June. In essence, it reads:
“In the case of an occurrence or event of an exceptional nature, which is outside the control of the ISU (such as terrorism, riot, civil unrest, war [regardless of whether declared or not]) and the participation in events and/or competitions hosted or sanctioned by the ISU being made impossible, objectively endangered, or, in the reasonable judgment of Council, not reasonably possible or appropriate under adequate conditions given the circumstances, Council may decide to impose exceptional protective measures aimed at preserving the safe, peaceful and regular conduct of the ISU’s activities or any other measure that the ISU deems appropriate.”
More than 20 ISU member nations urged Council to prohibit delegates from Russia and Belarus attending Congress or other official meetings, seminars, etc., and that candidates from Russia and Belarus should not be permitted to stand for election for any ISU position.
As there is no provision for this in the ISU Statutes or in Swiss law (where the ISU is based), Council concluded that no such decision could be made at this time. Depending upon the situation in Ukraine and possible motions from ISU members at Congress, Council will decide if such a vote will be conducted at the beginning of Congress.
This news came as no surprise to officials of the Russian skating federations (figure, speed/short track). Earlier this week, the Russian and Belarusian Olympic Committees announced a joint meeting will take place on April 27 in Minsk to discuss competition alternatives for athletes in both countries. Two Russian figure skaters — Alexander Samarin and Stanislava Konstantinova — are scheduled to attend.
In another news item published prior to the ISU decision, Tatiana Mishina said that some of the skaters that train at the school she and Alexei Mishin run in St. Petersburg may compete in the Armenian Championships next season.
Three-time Olympic pairs champion Irina Rodnina posted a scathing notice about the absence of Anna Shcherbakova at the Kremlin ceremony to honor the 2022 Olympic medalists. In it, Rodnina labelled Shcherbakova as a “traitor,” despite the fact that her own daughter, who lives in the United States and is a widely respected American journalist, is a vehement anti-Russian war proponent.