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Putin: Charges against Russian athletes based on words of ‘imbecile with obvious problems’

Speaking about the fact that Rodchenkov was in trouble with the law, Putin noted that the WADA informant had been engaged in unlawful activity

MOSCOW, January 30. /TASS/. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday he considered it strange that the accusations against Russia and its athletes were based on statements by Grigory Rodchenkov, "an imbecile with obvious problems."

"They caught this imbecile [WADA informant Grigory] Rodchenkov, brought him there [for testimony to the World Anti-Doping Agency]," Putin said at a meeting with his proxies.

"It is clear that this person is in trouble with the law… Everything is based on the statements by this man who can hardly be trusted in any way," the Russian president said.

Speaking about the fact that Rodchenkov was in trouble with the law, Putin noted that the WADA informant "had been engaged in unlawful activity and he should have been jailed."

"Instead, he was appointed as the head of the Russian anti-doping laboratory," Putin said.

Speaking about other problems suffered by the WADA informant, Putin recalled Rodchenkov’s suicide attempts. "Let God give him good health, of course," Putin added.

As the Russian leader said, Rodchenkov is working under the control of US special services and "it is remarkable that he is working under control but only this is remarkable not for us."

Putin has said one cannot turn global sports and the Olympic movement into a "backyard for the nitty-gritty of politics," but it is necessary to continue working with international sports organizations.

"One should by no means turn global sports and the Olympic movement into a backyard for some dirty nitty-gritty of politics," he said. "Do we need to work with international organizations? Of course, we do, and we will do so."

Putin noted that the reasons for barring some Russians from taking part in the Olympics in South Korea are not disclosed with reference to "a combination of some other reasons" unrelated to doping abuse. "What reasons? Is that some kind of an intelligence service?" he questioned. "After all, sport is a scope of activity which should be open to the world, just like the arts. Everything should be transparent there, otherwise distrust in the decisions that are made arises."

Putin admitted that Russia had given a reason for accusations to be hurled against it. He recalled, however, that there are doping abuse cases in other countries as well, but the issue is just "not blown out of proportion to be hyped as part of internal political campaigns." He also recalled the problem of some drugs taken by athletes "for medical reasons." Holding a smile, he suggested conducting separate competitions for such athletes, adding that Russia could likewise issue such permissions for its athletes, if necessary.

The president vowed that Russia would support its athletes who will not be able to take part in the Olympic Games morally or financially. The Russian leader hoped that an unpleasant page in relations with international sports organizations would be turned soon. Putin also called on all Russian athletes to abide by International Olympic Committee rules.