President of the Russian Figure Skating Federation Anton Sikharulidze, speaking last week in the State Duma, said that Russia managed to avoid a mass change of sports citizenship among figure skaters, despite international isolation. “No one ran in other federations,” noted the Salt Lake City Olympic champion.

It is known that it is quite difficult for domestic figure skaters to switch to a different flag due to the rules of the FFKKR, which provide for a two-year wait for an absentee document for national-level athletes. This period must be counted from the date of the official transfer request and not from the date of the last appearance. This is precisely where, say, Dario Chirisano stumbled when he was planning to skate for the Czech Republic with Denise Tsimlova. There is also no certainty for Sofia Samodelkina, who received a Kazakhstani passport, but cannot yet compete for this country.

Now this right of the federation not to release the athlete at the first request is under threat. The fact is that the Canadian Figure Skating Federation proposed to significantly simplify the rules for transfers from one team to another. According to RIA Novosti, they submitted a corresponding proposal for consideration at the ISU Congress, which will be held in Las Vegas from June 10 to 14.

The Canadian idea is that national federations must grant permission to change flags immediately after receiving a package of documents, which means a “formal request for detachment.” In this case, the athlete is required to serve quarantine, that is, not to perform for “one full season” instead of a calendar year, as was previously the case.

It looks as if this idea was invented specifically as a counteraction to the “two-year rule” of the FFKKR. According to Tatyana Tarasova, Skate Canada took the initiative precisely with the aim of luring Russian athletes.

“This means that Canadians are not able to raise their skaters. Therefore, they expect to take our athletes. We have a lot of skaters, the Canadians want them to join them and compete for them. Why do we need such an offer? We already have someone to play for the national team. But few people come to figure skating, it’s not a profession for them, not like ours,” Match TV quotes the famous coach.

This argument is not without logic if one does not focus exclusively on Canada. Many teams will probably want to get the Russians. No matter how you remember, more than two dozen athletes who were born in Russia or who previously had Russian citizenship competed at the last European Championships.

And a few years ago, Muscovite Lyubov Ilyushechkina played for the Canadian national team - first paired with Dylan Moskovich, and then with Charlie Bilodeau. With her first partner, she won bronze at the Four Continents Championship in 2017 and three medals at the national championship, and with her second, she stood on the podium of domestic competitions one more time. And literally last off-season, juniors Ulyana Shiryaeva and Alexa Volkova moved to the maple leaf camp.

However, in Russia there is no panic about this. According to former vice-president of the FFKKR Alexander Lakernik, the new rules, if adopted, will not make the transition process much easier, and in some ways complicate it.

“If you have to miss the season, it won’t get much easier, because you still have to miss it, and even more than now. If you are there, say, somewhere in the middle of the season, you will have to skip, as I understand it, the next one. But permission from the previous federation is not required, you just need to formalize everything. We need to listen to their arguments, I don’t want to comment without understanding their arguments. There is a congress, let’s see what they say, how much they like it, this is only a proposal, not a decision,” RIA Novosti quotes Lakernik as saying.

Olympic champion Natalya Bestemyanova is confident that this initiative will change little and is unlikely to lead to a massive outflow of skaters from Russia.

“Our athletes skate in Russia not because they are not allowed to go, they themselves want it that way. Perhaps there will be those who want to leave, and with this proposal everything will be much more convenient. People build their own destiny. Perhaps someone thinks that they cannot wait for the moment when we are returned to international tournaments, and they do not have much time in sports, so let it go. Those who have much more time will never exchange playing for Russia for another country, but there is no need to stigmatize or detain anyone. We definitely shouldn’t worry about this,” said the former athlete to RT.

Former European ice dancing champion Sergei Novitsky shares a similar opinion.

“It seems to me that whoever wanted to leave Russia has already done so a long time ago. It doesn't matter how much time they miss because of it, as long as they set their mind to it. This initiative does not pose any risks for us,” Novitsky told RT.

In his opinion, it is doubtful that Skate Canada expects to attract many athletes from Russia.

“There are not many naturalized athletes on the Canadian team, their school is unique in its own way, and this is not a country that needs to invite skaters from other countries,” he added.

And Maxim Trankov, in turn, expressed a different assumption. In his opinion, the Canadians thus want to simplify the exchange of skaters with the United States.

“Canada and America have very close cooperation and skaters most often transfer between these teams. Perhaps for this reason Canadians want to discuss simplification of the procedure. It’s difficult for me to say whether Russian figure skaters will try to change their sports citizenship using a simplified procedure. Athletes have previously moved to other teams and will continue to do so,” Match TV quotes the two-time Olympic champion as saying.

However, it is difficult to believe in the likelihood of such a motivation. If the North Americans really have a partnership, then it is not difficult for them to agree on issuing releases for skaters as soon as possible. And shifting quarantine from a calendar year to a full season can only hinder this process, as Lakernik rightly pointed out.

But the most ardent reaction to the idea of ​​Skate Canada was given by three-time Russian champion Alexander Gallyamov. He posted a video on social media in which he waves his head negatively, and accompanied it with an impromptu dialogue between him and representatives of the Canadian federation.

- Hello, this is Canada.

- Hello, I'm busy, I can't come to you.

- Gallyamov, leave. Dostal uje. Ti sam pozvonil.

- Bye.