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Putin links claims of Russia’s alleged ‘doping scheme’ with upcoming elections

The Russian president, however, added "that certain cases of doping abuse may take place just like in other states"


CHELYABINSK, November 9. /TASS/. Russia never had and never will have a state sponsored doping scheme for national athletes, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

"Never has there been, nor is there now and I hope there never will be a state system of doping support [in sports], which is an allegation that we are accused of," Putin said.
However, the Russian president added, "that certain instances (of doping abuse) are taking place just like in other countries."

"We are investigating and working on such cases, and will keep up with this effort," Putin added.

The accusations of Russia’s alleged support for doping in sports may be linked with the upcoming presidential elections in the country, Putin presumed: "This is what raises my concern: the Olympic Games are due to begin in February while we will be holding presidential elections in March. There are vast suspicions that all this is being done to stoke an atmosphere necessary for someone where sports fans and athletes are disgruntled over the fact that the state is allegedly involved in breaches and it is responsible for that," Putin said.

As the Russian president noted, today’s international sports organizations, including the International Olympic Committee, depend very much on a large number of components, first of all, on sponsors, and also on obtaining TV broadcasting rights and advertisers.

In Putin’s opinion, "this is a large stratum of relationships and dependents." "And the controlling stake is in the United States because it is there where there are the key companies that order and pay for television rights and where there are the key sponsors and the vital advertisers," Putin said.

"In response to our alleged interference in their elections [in the United States], they want to stir up problems during Russian presidential election," Putin said.

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 Rodchenkov, who accused Russia of allegedly conducting a state sponsored doping scheme.

Following the report’s release the International Olympic Committee (IOC) set up two separate commissions to probe doping abuse allegations in Russian sports as well as alleged involvement of state officials in manipulations with performance enhancing drugs, particularly at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia’s Sochi.

The first of the two commissions is an Inquiry Commission, chaired by the former President of Switzerland, Samuel Schmid. The committee is looking into accusations set out in the McLaren report that alleges the existence of a supposed institutional conspiracy in Russia’s summer and winter sports, in which the country’s state officials were allegedly engaged in.

The second investigative body at the issue is a Disciplinary Commission, chaired by IOC Member Denis Oswald. This commission is assigned with addressing alleged doping usage and tampering Russian athletes’ samples, who participated in the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014.