Lukoil fuels the ski race | Upstream online


Russia’s largest private oil producer Lukoil held a surprise ceremony to commemorate medal-winning performances by members of the country’s Winter Olympics team, with chief executive Vagit Alekperov handing out gifts and fuel vouchers to athletes and their coaches.

Although the Winter Olympics ended on February 20, the ceremony had been delayed by almost two months as Lukoil management was busy dealing with the effects of sanctions and a growing aversion to doing business with foreigners. Russian companies.

Lukoil has been a major sponsor of the Russian ski team since 1998, also supporting junior ski teams across the country through dedicated grants.

The 11 medals won by the ski team at the Beijing Olympics were the main contribution to Russia’s total of 32 medals.

Alekperov highlighted the achievements of skier Alexander Bolshunov, who added five medals to the team’s tally.

It was unclear whether Russia would even compete, due to the lingering legacy of previous doping scandals. Permission to compete was given shortly before the event, and Russian athletes were invited to attend the Games as representatives of the Russian Olympic Committee.

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However, doping scandals are now the least of Russian athletes‘ worries.

Many, including Bolshunov, now face the prospect of losing international sponsorship deals and facing disciplinary investigations after attending a huge pro-Putin rally in Moscow.

Lukoil appeared ready to act as a voice of reason a month ago when the company called for a diplomatic resolution to the Ukraine crisis, but the show of support for Russian athletes suggests the oil giant is walking a tightrope delicate.

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