Leader of breakaway South Ossetia, Leonid Tibilov, has been invited by Russian President Vladimir Putin to attend the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, according to Tibilov’s spokesperson.
“Leonid Tibilov is also invited at a reception of heads of states hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin,” Gana Yanovska, a spokesperson of breakaway region’s leader, was quoted by South Ossetian and Russian news agencies on February 3.
When speaking about Tbilisi’s “constructive” steps towards Russia, Georgian PM Irakli Garibashvili told the Munich Security Conference on February 1 that Georgia decided not to boycott the Sochi Games. “It was really hard for us to take this decision, because we have this unsolved conflict with our brothers, Abkhazians and South Ossetians,” he said.
Few hundred protesters rallied in Tbilisi on February 1 against Georgia’s participation in the Sochi Olympics. According to the most recent public opinion survey, number of respondents who support Georgia’s participation in the Sochi Games declined from 76% in early September to 66% in late November.
No Georgian government member will be attending the Sochi Games. Part of the Georgian delegation, among them officials from the Georgian National Olympic Committee, left for Sochi on February 4.
The Georgian team at the Sochi Olympic Games will include four athletes: three Alpine skiers – Nino Tsiklauri; Iason Abramishvili; Alexi Beniaidze, and a figure skater Elene Gedevanishvili, who competed at the 2006 and 2010 Winter Olympic Games.