The Belarusians and the Russians are different nations, former tennis player Olga Barabanschikova says.
She said it to Pressball newspaper.
Belarusian Olga Barabanschikova was among the WTA's Top 50 players in the late 1990s. She ended her tennis career and became a singer and a TV presenter.
– It is still popular among tennis players to live abroad after retiring from tennis. Did you think of moving to another country?
– I had an offer to play for the UK when I was a sportswoman, but I didn't even think to accept it. I am such a nationalist...
– A nationalist?
– Yes! If I am on holiday and people call us the Russians, I always emphasise I am a Belarusian. We and the Russians are different nations. Even in the USSR I regarded myself not as a Soviet citizen, but as a Belarusian. I have this feeling throughout my life and I will always feel it. A thought that I could play for the honour of any other country except for Belarus sounds wild to me. I think it would be a shame to return to my home country after that.