Federation’s executive committee said that it had made the decision “to allow
athletes and coaches from all Nations to participate in a competition that
focuses on sport rather than accusations and discussions – whether justified or
not” and because “the current climate” would make it impossible for the Russians
to host such a gathering.
surprisingly, Russian officials are outraged (echo.msk.ru/news/1891896-echo.html and echo.msk.ru/news/1891868-echo.html); but even more than that they are afraid that the
IBSF decision will lead ever more athletic organizations and foreign countries
to demand that Moscow be stripped of the 2018 World Cup, a competition Vladimir
Putin cares far more about.
for that to happen have increased in the wake of the release of a new report
that documents far more than any in the past that the Putin regime engaged in a
state-sponsored program of doping that involved more than 1,000 athletes (meduza.io/feature/2016/12/09/novyy-doklad-o-dopinge-v-rossii) and a drumbeat of scandals over the behavior of
Russian soccer louts.
instead of just denouncing the IBSF decision as unjustified and the doping
report as a falsification, Russian officials have taken two steps during the
past few days that suggest that Moscow is very much afraid that it could lose the
2018 competition, something that would give the Kremlin a black eye in the most
public of places.
the one hand, the Putin regime has called for putting in place the toughest
anti-doping arrangements in the world, a call that many welcome but that others
see as either slamming the door after the horse has run or yet another public
relations campaign designed to hide what Moscow in fact is likely continuing to
on the other, there has been a new and much-ballyhooed crackdown on Russian
football fanatics with some coaches even being compelled to apologize, again welcome
if it leads to real change but not so much if it is just another statement
designed to muddy the waters (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5850253FC1CB2 and