The former Soviet Union will be represented at next month's Winter Olympics by a unified team with a neutral name, flag and anthem, according to officials.
Following the demise of the Soviet Union, the country's Olympic committee has reached agreement with former republics to compete under the name "United Team" and use the Olympic banner and hymn.Alexander Kozlowsky, deputy president of the former Soviet Olympic Committee, said the team plans to use the abbreviation EUN - the initials for Equipe Unie, or United Team in French.
The team will comprise athletes from at least four former Soviet republics: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan. A fifth, Uzbekistan, may also take part if its athletes qualify in freestyle skiing.
In recognition of their independence, athletes will be permitted to display the name or symbol of their respective state on the sleeve of their uniforms, Kozlowsky said. The insignia must be of "reasonable size," he said.
The plans will be submitted to the International Olympic Committee for approval.
The majority of the athletes, about 85 percent, will come from Russia, Kozlowsky said Tuesday in a telephone interview from Moscow.
The other six members of the newly-formed Commonwealth of Independent States do not compete in winter sports.
The Baltic countries of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, which regained their independence several months before the final demise of the Soviet Union, are sending their own teams to the Olympics.
Kozlowsky said the arrangements for the Winter Games, which run Feb. 8-23 in Albertville, France, were worked out a few days ago in Moscow with sports officials of the various states.
The president of the former Soviet committee, Vitaly Smirnov, flew to Switzerland on Wednesday and is scheduled to meet with IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch on Monday in Lausanne.
IOC director general Francois Carrard said he envisioned no objection to the plans and that final approval was expected next week.