19:50 GMT02 April 2020
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    Mikhail Degtyarev, a senior Russian lawmaker, on Monday accused the Western countries of seeking to impose recognition of state-run doping scheme on Russia in an attempt to "break the country’s spirit".

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Western countries are attempting to inflict the recognition of an alleged state-controlled doping scheme on Russia amid the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) accreditation process, Mikhail Degtyarev, a senior Russian lawmaker, said Monday.

    “It is necessary to understand that at the moment the Russian Anti-Doping Agency [RUSADA] is going through an accreditation process. We are being forced to acknowledge the existence of an alleged state-controlled scheme of the doping use. This is a lie, a provocation and attempt to break the country’s spirit. There was, is and will be no system,” Degtyarev, who heads the State Duma sports committee, told reporters.

    The remarks were made as the lawmaker was commenting on the possible publication of new materials of World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) informant Grigory Rodchenkov and a potential decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ban Russia from participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

    Degtyarev stressed that Russia had an absolutely transparent system of fighting doping with strict rules. He noted that if an athlete’s test was positive, he would be punished, while given a chance to defend oneself through testing the second sample in his presence.

    “There is no other way to accuse somebody of the use of doping. However, we see that [skier] Alexander Legkov was disqualified over scratches on his test tubes. This athlete has passed more than 200 tests in different laboratories all over the world during his life, and all of them were negative. It is not an athlete’s duty to secure preservation of test tubes, an athlete should only take a test, he is not responsible for anything afterwards,” Degtyarev added.

    The lawmaker added that Rodchenkov, who is also a former head of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory, was acting with the intention to discredit Russia and Russian athletes. He stressed that this situation was beneficial to the UK, US and Canadian authorities, noting that the insinuations against Russian athletes had first appeared in media outlets of these countries. Degtyarev also noted that the Western countries had previously attempted to destabilize the Russian society through imposing sanctions against Moscow, seeking to cause disapproval of the government among the Russian citizens, but had failed.

    According to the lawmaker, the West was now seeking to achieve its goals through alleging the Russian government’s involvement in the doping scandal. He emphasized that the ongoing situation had nothing in common with international and sports laws.

    “Our objective now is to support the idea of a reform of the international anti-doping movement at the international level. The situation around Russia has concerned many international officials and foreign representatives … The issue should be discussed at the international forums, bilateral meetings, should be taken to the highest level. The anti-doping system should go through reforms in order to become more transparent,” Degtyarev said.

    On Sunday, German journalist Hajo Seppelt told the ARD broadcaster that WADA would not reinstate RUSADA’s accreditation at its meeting in Seoul on Thursday, which might lead to banning Russia from participating in 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

    In 2015, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accused Russia of multiple doping violations and suspended the Moscow laboratory of RUSADA, the Russian National Anti-Doping Agency. In 2016, Richard McLaren, head of the WADA investigative team, presented a two-part report, which alleged the existence of a state-supported doping system in Russia. Russian officials have refuted the allegations, while admitting that Russian sports had some issues with doping abuse. In December, the IOC is expected to decide on whether Russian athletes will be allowed to compete in the 2018 Olympics.


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