Thursday, January 25, 2018

Russian Elite Getting a Taste of Its Own Medicine at the IOC -- and Hates It, Inozemtsev Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 25 – Most Russians are upset about the Olympic sanctions against Russian sports figures for the “profoundly human” reason that anyone would regret denying someone who has worked hard for many years the chance to compete, especially if such people are not necessarily personally responsible for violating the rules, Vladislav Inozemtsev says.

            But the Russian elite has a different and more profound reason for being upset, the Moscow economist and commentator says, and it is not because its members have any “conscience or shame” but rather because what has happened to Russian athletes is too much like what the elite is doing to Russians as a whole (
            Being given as it were a taste of their own medicine, Inozemtsev argues, simply makes them uncomfortable and leaves them sputtering in response.

            The reports on which the International Olympic Committee relied to make their decisions on sanctioning Russian athletes were based on the testimony of Grigory Rodchenkov “and several other figures who are acquainted with the organization of the preparation of Russian athletes … and the system of doping control in the country.”

            Might some of the information they provided be “mistaken or distorted?” It could be, the Moscow commentator says. “But even when Rodchenkov speaking from afar before the tribunal in Lausanne repeated his accusations, the arbiters of such things assembled believed him and not Russian sportsmen or sports officials.” 

            Does this not remind many of something? Of course. It is exactly like the overwhelming majority of cases in Russian courts.  No matter how much evidence the defendants present, if they are opposed by someone that powers that be view as reliable, that individual and not the defendants is going to be believed.

            “This system has become the real know how of the Putin system of administration – and suddenly its creators have encountered something similar but directed against them and against the system of those illusory achievements which they have will difficulty arranged things,” Inozemtsev says.

            It is that more than anything else which explains “the shock in which the Russian bureaucratic system has been in over the course of recent months,” he argues. The Russian political elite “is accustomed to act without any regard for rules but at the same time to demand from others that they deal with Russia according to ‘the highest world standards.’”  

            The change in that, Inozemtsev says, has shocked the Russian elite. “It is said that Trump deprived Putin of the monopoly on unpredictability, but the International Olympic Committee deprived Russia’s ‘masters of life’ of the monopoly they had enjoyed as far as ‘the last word’ in the establishment of ‘truth’ is concerned.”

            “The West, the Moscow analyst continues, “has begun to counter Putin’s Russia with the very same methods that it had used against it – and now with each passing day, Peskov and others alongside him” find themselves at a loss for words. The Kremlin in this case “already has nothing new to offer.”

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