Russia is under high scrutiny for meddling again this week, only this time, its not about the American elections. The President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, announced on Tuesday that Russia would be barred from the 2018 Olympic Games in South Korea. The ban comes after a 17 month investigation that deemed the country guilty of running a secret doping operation during the 2014 Olympic competition that was held in Sochi, Russia.
“This was an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport. This should draw a line under this damaging episode and serve as a catalyst for a more effective anti-doping system,” said Mr. Bach in his announcement. According to BBC, the decision was handed down after reviewing the investigation report that was led by the once President of Switzerland, Samuel Schmid. The report findings showed that 1,000 athletes had gained benefits from the scheme for the 2014. Mr. Schmidt stated that finds of the report showed “the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system”
Even though has been banned from participating in the February 9th games, The New York Times has reported that the IOC has left the opportunity for Russian Athletes to participate in the competition under a neutral flag named the Olympic Athletes from Russia. The participants, if allowed to compete after thorough review from a panel appointed by the IOC, will wear neutral uniforms that do not represent their homeland.
The 2014 doping operation was brought to light after the Russian anti-doping laboratory Director, Grigory Rodchenkov, divulged that he had created concoctions to help enhance the athletes performance while replacing the original urine samples with clean versions in order to keep from being detected. The Russian government has denied the allegations, despite backing from numerous different sources. NPR has reported that the Russian Olympic Committee is required to pay a large sum of $15 million that will fund the concluded investigation as well as support the Independent Testing Authority which will focus on anti-doping initiatives.
The Russian doping scheme isn’t the only controversy that the country has been punished for wrong doing. It is well known around the world that Russian President Vladimir Putin has been largely accused of using cyberwar tactics to meddle in the 2016 United States election, using social media platforms to push divisive content into the homes of American families. The claim has resulted in sanctions against Russia and is under a thorough investigation being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller III. Mr. Putin has repeatedly denied any involvement in the interference, and Donald Trump has come to his defense stating his denial sounds sincere and believable. Mr. Putin, in a previous statement regarding the allegations of doping, stated that the accusations are “a dangerous return to of this policy of letting politics interfere with sport.”