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Two Groups Back Georgia Sochi Boycott

Two nongovernmental organizations in Georgia have started collecting signatures under a petition to boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia.

Tbilisi-based "Transparency International - Georgia" and "Fair Elections" launched their campaign on Facebook on October 9. The Georgian government said earlier in the week that it will take an "appropriate decision" if Russia "excessively politicizes" the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Tbilisi’s reaction was prompted by the participation of a Russian military pilot, Ivan Nechayev, who received a Hero of Russia award for his role in the 2008 Russian-Georgian war, in the Olympic torch relay in Moscow on October 6. The war ended with Russia's recognition of Georgia's breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states.

Georgia's government decided earlier this year that Georgian sportsmen will participate in the Sochi Olympics despite strained Tbilisi-Moscow relations.