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Doping scandals turned into tool of political pressure on Russia — PM Medvedev

November 30, 2017, 14:19 UTC+3

Dmitry Medvedev said Russia's victory in Sochi was honest and unbiased

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MOSCOW, November 30. /TASS/. Doping scandals in sports turned into a tool of political pressure and the foundation for propelling the anti-Russian campaign, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in his annual live interview with Russian TV channels on Thursday.

"We are in constant search of the solution to the current problem, the whole government is concerned with this problem to certain extent and the president also dealt with it and repeatedly stated his position on this issue," Medvedev said.

"We need to outline here two sides," he said. "Firstly, our stance regarding doping remains unchanged and categorical. We are against doping abuse in sports. We do have certain problems and are settling them but they must not doubt in any way the brilliant result of Russian athletes at the (2014) Winter Olympic Games at home."

"This was an honest and unbiased victory, and everything was achieved due to efforts of our athletes and home support in Sochi," the premier stated.

"Secondly, this issue became absolutely politicized and autonomous, where the problem of doping itself accounts for only 30% of share. The rest goes for political manipulations," he said.

"Unfortunately, this issue became a foundation to propel another anti-Russian campaign, which we feel will peak during a certain political period to show how things are terrible here," Medvedev said. "There is a particular sense in all of this, because people love sports, support our athletes and it would provoke a deep disappointment if our athletes were cut off."

"All of this is politics and there are no doubts about it anymore," the prime minister said. "This goes for the McLaren reports as well, but there are also other characters in this case, such as (Grigory) Rodchenkov, whose diaries are now published."

Last year, the Independent Commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) chaired by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren released a report on the outcome of a probe into alleged doping schemes at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.

The report was based on testimony given by former Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory chief Grigory Rodchenkov, who accused Russia of allegedly conducting a state sponsored doping scheme.

Speaking about Rodchenkov, his published diaries and doping allegations, Medvedev said "It seems to me that this is a psychiatric problem."

"It will be enough to take a look at the diaries to understand that only a psychiatric treatment would help this man and nothing else," the premier stated.

The former chief of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory Rodchenkov gave WADA what he said was a list of athletes who on the eve of the 2014 Winter Olympics allegedly had used a doping cocktail that he concocted and named after a popular Soviet-era soft drink.

The International Olympic Committee found the Rodchenkov list to be sufficient grounds to strip several Russian athletes of their medals that they had won in Sochi.

"This whole situation is undoubtedly very disappointing," Medvedev said. "It turned into a tool of political manipulations and we will be fighting against it at all levels involving all organizations."

The next Olympics, which are XXIII Winter Olympic Games, will take place in South Korea’s PyeongChang on February 9-25, 2018 and participation of the whole Russian national team in the event is still under a question. The same problem concerns Russia’s participation in the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games.

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