MOSCOW, December 27. /TASS/. Western countries overemphasize Russia’s role in regard to the use of doping by athletes, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated in an interview with Match TV sports channel.
"I know for sure that, apart from the obvious violations made by Russian athletes, there are also many partially related to sports Western figures who tend to overemphasize our role in promoting doping in every possible way and hence play down what is happening in the West," the top Russian diplomat said. "I'm not talking about such a well-worn example, as "asthmatics" Norwegians and other Scandinavians. But speaking about our sport’s image, I do not believe that it was tarnished somewhere. Russia is still a great sports power. I have no doubt about that. We are valued and respected."
Lavrov recalled that there is such a concept as sports diplomacy. "We are interested in protecting our interests jointly with the relevant sports federations and the Olympic Committee so that we are not discriminated. At the same time, we are willing to promote a positive and objective perception of our sport," the foreign minister noted.
In response to the question why Russian sport now has a "pretty damaged image abroad," Lavrov underlined: "This image is challenging due to the fact that the particular, unacceptable for us episodes with the athletes’ breaches are overemphasized in order to sweep under the carpet some less evident violations committed in Germany and in the United States.".