20th February 2018

US briefing on protecting doping whistleblowers set for Thursday

The US Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, is to hold a briefing entitled ‘The Russian doping scandal: protecting whistleblowers and combating fraud in sports’ on Thursday 22 February at 3:30pm. The briefing will be broadcast live on the Commission’s Facebook page.

In July last year, the Kremlin approved a Russian National Anti-Doping Plan (NADP) that promised to protect doping whistleblowers. After this, on 28 September last year, an arrest warrant was issued by Russian authorities for Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, former Director of the Sochi 2014 and Moscow Laboratories. Dr. Rodchenkov is currently under the protection of the US Federal Witness Protection programme, and was forced to disguise his appearance during a recent CBS interview (video below) due to fears for his safety.

A Moscow City Court recently rejected an appeal from Dr. Rodchenkov’s lawyers against a Zyuzino District Court ruling requiring his arrest following any extradition from the US, reports Russian State news agency TASS. It is understood that Dr. Rodchenkov’s lawyers argued that the ruling should be annulled as he was not informed.

Dr. Rodchenkov provided an affidavit (PDF below) to the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Schmid Commission outlining how the Russian State directed a scheme designed to subvert anti-doping efforts. He is not the only doping whistleblower that has been forced to flee Russia due to safety concerns. Yulia Stepanova and Vitaly Stepanov, who told the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) about Russian doping in 2010, have fled Russia, as has Andrey Dmitriev.

They have good reason to be concerned. After a 2014 documentary produced for ARD forced the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to acknowledge what was going on in Russia, former Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) Director Nikita Kamaev and Founding Chairman of RUSADA, Vyacheslav Sinev, died within two weeks of each other. The two had discussed collaborating on an exposé style book discussing doping.

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