Russian nationalist parliament members called Thursday for top sports officials to resign because of the country’s mediocre showing in the Winter Olympics.
Igor Lebedev, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party’s faction in the State Duma, said Russia’s performance has brought “bitterness and insult” to the country, which is hosting the next Winter Games at Sochi in 2014.
As of Wednesday night, Russia had only three medals _ one of each color _ putting it 11th in overall standings.
Russia generally has been one of the Winter Games’ dominating forces.
In a statement Thursday, Lebedev said Russian Olympic Committee head Leonid Tyagachev should resign immediately and that sports minister Vitaly Mutko should go “if in the remaining days of the Olympics our athletes don’t come into a leading role.”
Parliament speaker Boris Gryzlov meanwhile indicated that anything less than a fourth-place overall standings finish could cause top figures to lose their posts.
“This would be a failure for those who are responsible for sports in our country,” he said, according to the state news agency RIA Novosti.
Gryzlov leads the pro-Kremlin United Russia faction, which overwhelmingly dominates the parliament.
Lebedev’s party, with about 10 percent of the seats, generally votes in concert with United Russia.