Olympic ban decision deliberately made ahead of Russian elections — PM Medvedev

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MOSCOW, December 7. /TASS/. The International Olympic Committee’s decision to bar Russia from taking part in the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics was made, in part, with the intention of influencing the mood in Russian society in the run-up to the presidential election due next March, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at a government meeting on Thursday.

“The International Olympic Committee’s decision has one more aspect, which is understandable to everyone, especially in the current situation. This is the political component. This decision was made in the run-up to the elections in our country, the presidential election with an eye to shaping the appropriate sentiment in society,” he said.

The Russian government will support athletes who decide to participate in the 2018 Olympic Games, as no one is eligible to deny them this right, Medvedev said.

“Of course those who will receive permissions will decide for themselves if they go to the Olympics or not,” he said. “Neither sports federations, nor officials are eligible to give them orders, it should be their own choice. As for the government, I would like to point out that we will support any decision that our athletes make,” Medvedev said.

Government approves national plan to fight doping

The Russian sports did have problems with doping, but the government has taken measures to settle these problems, and this policy will be continued, Medvedev said.

“It is obvious that there were problems with doping in the Russian sports, we openly acknowledged them and launched an active work to eliminate violations. An independent public anti-doping commission was set up, a national plan for fight against doping in Russian sports was approved as well as a set of measures to implement this plan,” the prime minister said, adding that major work has been launched to deal with the problem. “Such policy in this sphere continues, and we will continue it irrespective of any decisions,” he vowed.

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