Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Non-Russians Won More than Half of Russia’s Gold Medals at Rio

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 24 – Even though officially they do not form more than a fifth of Russia’s population, members of non-Russian nations won ten of the 19 gold medals the Russian Federation took home from the Rio Olympiad as well as eight (or nine if one counts Cossack Nikita Nagorny as non-Russian)of the 19 silver and three of the 19 bronze the Russian team won.

            In reporting this, the Nazaccent portal argues the international composition of the Russian winners “was always our strength,” referring to the past when non-Russians from across the USSR and then across the Russian Federation won far more victories than their share in the population might have suggested (

            But at a time when Vladimir Putin constantly talks about “the Russian world” and when many Russians and some in the West accept the Kremlin’s claim that the Russian Federation is a Russian nation state rather than a conglomerate of various peoples, some Russians may no longer see this as a strength but rather as a threat.

            However that may be, it is worth noting this ethnic composition of the Russian victories given that the Russian and international media have given far more attention to the total number of medals Russia won and the ranking of that country in terms of medal count behind the US, the UK and China.

            Below is a list of the non-Russian athletes who took home medals from the Rio games:


Beslan Murdranov, Kabardinian, Judo
Khasan Khalmurzayev, Ingush, Judo
Davit Chakvetadze, Georgian, wrestling
Abdulrashid Sadulayev, Avar, boxing
Soslan Ramonov, Osetin, wrestling
Yana Yegoryan, Armenian, fencing
Artur Akhmatkhuzin, Tatar, fencing
Aliya Mustafina, “half-Tatar” in her own words, gymnastics
Margarita Mamun, “half Russian, half Bengali” in her own words, gymnastics


Inna Stepanova, Buryat, archery
Tuyana Dashidorzhiyeva, Buryat, archery
Aliya Mustafina, “half-Tatar” in her own words, gymnastics
Natalya Vorobyova, “half-Legin,” boxing
Abiuar Geduyev, Kabardinian, boxing
Mikhail Aloyan, Yezidi, boxing
Aleksey Denisenko, Roma, taekwondo


Timur Safin, Tatar, fencing
Aliya Mustafina, Tatar, gymnastics
Kirill Grigoryan, Armenian, shooting

            The portal noted that the non-Russians were welcomed to their homelands with songs and national dress, something that at least some Russian nationalists will see as anything but what the portal describes as “the force of the spirit of Russians and the undefeatable nature of the multi-national people of Russia.”

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