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Medvedev says world’s anti-doping campaign turned into anti-Russian campaign

December 15, 2016, 13:45 UTC+3

There is no state-sponsored doping system in Russia, Medvedev said

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MOSCOW, December 15. /TASS/. The recent global campaign against Russian athletes, who allegedly took banned performance enhancing drugs on a regular basis, is part of the anti-Russian campaign, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday.

"The anti-doping campaign turned into anti-Russian campaign and there are no doubts about it," Medvedev said.

Medvedev said a decision to ban the whole Russian Paralympic team from the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro was immoral.

"It was a completely inadmissible and, in my opinion, immoral decision to ban the (Russian) Paralympians," Medvedev said. "It was beyond the good and evil."

The arguments put forward by the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) over moving the 2017 IBSF World Championships from the Russian city of Sochi, Medvedev said.

"What kind of baby talk is this? What atmosphere are they referring to? What does atmosphere has to do with all this? There is an agreement that connects the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation and our federation," the prime minister stressed.

Medvedev has denied the existence of state-sponsored doping-support programs in Russia.

"Naturally, there is no state-sponsored system for doping support. There has never been and cannot be any such system," he said. "It doesn’t mean that doping use by individual athletes or coaches is completely ruled out. But it is an absolute nonsense to picture the situation as though government authorities are involved in that."

He said he considers the doping scandal as part of an anti-Russian campaign. "It gets worse as it goes on: all sorts of reports coming out in parts. I see it as part of a big anti-Russian campaign," Medvedev said.

He pledged anti-doping efforts would be continued. However, it is clear that "decisions on sports competitions or on Russian athletes are not always motivated by considerations of anti-doping efforts," he added.

Abuse of performance enhancing drugs in sports is inadmissible, but one should give a clear legal definition to what the doping is, Medvedev said.

‘We believe that doping in sports is inadmissible and the doping abuse must be taboo," Medvedev said. "However, we must make it clear what is doping."

"We need to give a concise and legally solid definition of doping," the premier added.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko has never been a part of the doping scandals, which recently engulfed the Russian sports, otherwise he would have never served in the government, Medvedev said.

"We have no proof that Minister Mutko is involved in this scandal," Medvedev said. "If we had such proof, he would have never worked in the government."

The Russian premier said accusations in regard to Mutko had been voiced by many people "including from those whose legal status is not quite clear for me - for instance, Mr. McLaren."

"The given answers to all accusations resulted in nothing," Medvedev said adding that on the one hand, McLaren accuses in his report Mutko of involvement in the doping scandal, but on the other, says he cannot provide any proof to back his accusations.

The Russian premier said measures regarding those, who were really involved in the Russian doping scandal, had been taken and many officials were sacked from their positions and it was more feasible to wait for the results from the Russian Investigative Committee, which is holding its own investigation into international doping allegations against Russia.

"In this case we will be presented with the legally concise results and not with insinuations from persons with indefinite legal status, who are accusing officials from other countries without any proof," Medvedev added.

The prime minister said that Russia’s government will continue doping clean-up.

"We have been making and will continue to make decisions to clean up our sports doping problem. We have some problems in the sporting sphere, like other countries do. This is our common goal," the prime minister stated.

Russian athletes were constantly in the focus of numerous doping abuse accusations in the recent years. The World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) Independent Commission, chaired by Canadian sports law professor Richard McLaren, conducted an investigation into doping allegations in Russian sports and eventually came up with two parts of the report, the first delivered in July and the second on December 9.

Following the first part of the report, which claimed systematic doping abuse and manipulations in the Russian sport, the country’s track and field and weightlifting teams were banned from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil. The whole Russian Paralympic team was also barred from taking part in the 2016 Summer Paralympics.

The second part of the McLaren report confirmed the findings and allegations voiced in the first part, which claimed that Russian state officials and the Federal Security Service (FSB) were involved in doping manipulations, particularly swapping the doping results at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia’s Sochi.

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