Korovashkov is not alone. At least two female athletes on the Russian team are also from the “Ukraine Region.” Several others are from the “Lvov Region (RUS)” or “Lutsk (RUS).” In fact, almost all athletes born in Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, saw their birthplaces annexed as if Ukraine doesn’t exist at all as a sovereign nation.
The misclassification will do nothing to lessen resentment among many Ukrainians over centuries of Russian dominance, from czarist through Soviet times, before Ukraine gained its independence in 1991. Criticism was swift.
“Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin urged his diplomats to apply ‘soft power’ tactics to promote Russian interests abroad. This is an ongoing example of Russia’s systematic soft-power attacks against Ukraine’s national and international security,” said Walter Derzko, executive director of the Strategic Foresight Institute in Toronto, Canada. “This time, it is on the official Olympic website. Since when is Ukraine a region of Russia? This deserves a strong reaction from the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the leadership in the Ukrainian diaspora.”