BLAGOVESHCHENSK (Russia) (Sputnik) — Grigory Rodchenkov, who had been heading the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory, left the country in January 2016 for the United States where he has reportedly been living under the witness protection program. Half a year later, Rodchenkov described in an interview to The New York Times a doping scheme in Russia. Last Tuesday, The New York Times published extracts from Rodchenkov's diaries, allegedly written in 2014-2015 and detailing his discussions with Russian officials, including Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, who served as the sports minister at that time, about a system for concealing Russian athletes' anti-doping rule violations.
"I am absolutely sure that the diaries were written during his six-month stay in the United States, and then were edited. It was edited to match certain facts … Today, [Rodchenkov] is an instrument, which is very wisely used against Russia," Mutko told the Russian NTV broadcaster.
"It would be very bad if politics take over common sense. We will protect our athletes both legally, financially, organizationally and physically. Legal procedures will follow any decision by the IOC," Mutko told the broadcaster.
Following Rodchenkov's interview, Richard McLaren, the head of WADA's independent commission, presented a two-part report on anti-doping violations in Russia, which alleged the existence of a state-supported doping system in the country. The report resulted in the ban of the Russian track and field team from participating in the 2016 Summer Olympics and a total ban for Russian Paralympic athletes from competing in the 2016 Summer Games and the 2018 Winter Games.
Russia refutes the allegations of a state-run doping program and seeks Rodchenkov's extradition from the United States. On November 28, Russia's Investigative Committee spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko said that Rodchenkov had the opportunity to access Russian athletes' database remotely after his departure to the United States to forge doping evidence.