Putin And Mutko Respond to Olympic Ban


Putin And Mutko Respond to Olympic Ban

On Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that Russia was banned from appearing at their 2018 events. Vitaly Mutko, former Sports Minister and current Deputy Prime Minister, has now responded to allegations that he was ultimately responsible for Russia’s “systemic manipulation of the anti-doping rules”.

According to SBS, Deputy Prime Minister Mutko denied the allegations, questioning the IOC’s findings in the Schmid Report:
“Russia has never encouraged doping. There could not have been a [state-run] doping programme. An athlete is monitored 365 days a year. They can show up any time and take a sample.”
The Washington Times also quoted him as saying:
“If you don’t fight back, you will just be smashed… Nowadays everyone is trying to make some kind of axis of evil out of us, just because we’re a great sporting power.”
This would not be the first time that Mutko has played the victim during this saga. Since the beginning, his strategy has been to deny and deflect all accusations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has now also responded. He was slightly more direct in his remarks, however he is not nearly as personally involved in the accusations:

“First of all, we need to say straight that to some extent we are guilty ourselves because we gave pretext for this. Second, I think this pretext was used in a not completely honest way, to say the least…
Undoubtedly, we will not declare any blockade, will not prevent our Olympic athletes from participating, if any one of them wants to participate in their personal capacity… [I] feel concerned for the guys, many of whom I know personally and consider them to be my friends. Each of them has to make a decision of some kind now.”
Via Lucian Kim & NPR:
In response to the ban, a Russian lawmaker has proposed bringing back the Goodwill Games. That event, which ceased operations in 2001, was originally created during the 1980’s to offer an alternative for nations who were boycotting the Olympics during the Cold War.
Deputy PM Mutko says the Olympics ban will not effect the upcoming FIFA tournament scheduled to take place in Russia this summer.
[Main photo from the government.ru website]