Russians No Longer Dispute Olympic Doping Operation

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"In Russia, sport and politics are inextricably mixed – from the use of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics as an exercise in soft power to the cultivation of non-western nations through the 2013 World Student Games in Kazan.

Now doping has come to be seen as a metaphor for the way Putin’s Russia operates; a place where the end justifies the means and winning is the only acceptable outcome.

But a closer look at the narrative behind the doping scandal and the national response to it – a narrative that also informs both foreign and domestic policy – suggests another metaphor; one that describes a country suffering under complacency and heading for stagnation:

Russia has always used sport to foster national pride. But under Putin sport and success in sports has led to new levels of cheating as a way to conceal Russian economic problems.

"As Russia touts signs of renewed growth after a long recession, the self-exiled former Kremlin adviser who is now chief economist at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) says his homeland's prospects for recovery in fact remain bleak.

Senior Russian officials have said they expect the economy to start recovering from recession next year, with the Economy Ministry predicting 0.8 percent growth in 2017 after a projected decline of 0.2 percent this year.

But Sergei Guriyev, a prominent economist who left Russia in 2013 amid fears of a politically motivated criminal prosecution, says the country's economy is not in a process of recovery but of "transition from recession to stagnation."

"The drop in gross domestic product [GDP] has ended, moving now to zero or very slow growth," he told RFE/RL's Russian Service in a telephone interview in London, where the EBRD is headquartered. He predicted that, if there is positive growth, it will be only about 1 percent a year."

This is the story that Russian media distributes for domestic consumption after FSS approval.

"Galactic doped-up US stars not banned from Rio Games. We all knew it all along. We knew it when the famous Flo-Jo declared she was clean, then suddenly retired, and died aged 38. We knew it when Russian athletes who never took a banned substance in their lives were banned from Rio just because some Canadian wrote a report. The more they lie...

And so the entire Russian Paralympic team was banned from Rio because some Canadian called McClaren wrote a report for his British boss (and obviously the Americans pulling the Poodle's strings) without substantiating specific evidence against all specific athletes based on the claims of a rogue Russian official (Stepanov) who had had criminal proceedings brought against him. And who is now cringing and hiding like a coward in the USA, where else? Most of Russia's top athletes were banned from the Olympics to deprive Russia of medals for the same reasons.

Every time Russia gets anywhere near a sporting event, especially when Russia starts winning all the medals, Russia is accused of some geopolitical incident which results in its own venues being boycotted or else its competitors banned from competing overseas. They threatened to boycott Sochi but did not and the looks on their faces when Russia swept the medals boards and "owned the podium" was a foretaste of something to come."

i.e. all part of "the western lie"

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