3 September 2018

Former Military Police Chief to implement Russia’s National Anti-Doping Plan

Igor Sidorkevich (Игорь Сидоркевич), a former head of Russia’s Military Police and two-time Sambo world champion, has been appointed as Russia’s Deputy Minister of Sports. Sidorkevich will be in charge of implementing Russia’s National Anti-Doping Plan (NADP), drawn up in 2017 (PDF below). As previously reported by The Sports Integrity Initiative, the NADP codifies the view that State-sponsored doping did not take place in Russia; and that the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) decision to ban Russia was not based on facts.

A previous ‘Implementation Plan’ (PDF below) for the NADP clarifies that although Doping Control Officers (DCOs) will be permitted to enter ‘closed cities’ to test athletes based in such cities, they must be citizens of the Russian Federation and must apply for special permits. The Implementation Plan also sets a deadline of 1 August 2017 for detail on how the NADP will fulfil its promise to ‘promote the use of whistle-blowers – i.e. persons who will provide timely information about any anti-doping violations by athletes, support personnel, other sport stakeholders and sporting organisations’. 

Details on how the NADP will protect whistleblowers have yet to be outlined. Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, former Director of the Moscow Laboratory, famously fled Russia and has changed his identity due to safety concerns. Yulia Stepanova and Vitaly Stepanov, who told the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) about Russian doping in 2010, have also fled Russia, as has Andrey Dmitriev, due to similar concerns. 

The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (SKR or Sledcom) has charged Dr. Rodchenkov with abuse of power under Russia’s Criminal Code. Separate charges have been issued against Dr. Rodchenkov and his former assistant, Tim Sobolevsky, for obstructing its initial investigation by allegedly offering financial rewards to Russians in return for the supply of the Moscow Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) to WADA.

On 20 September, the WADA Executive Committee will discuss the progress of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) in meeting the remaining milestones outlined in WADA’s Roadmap to Compliance. As the link illustrates, WADA has accepted that RUSADA has put in place a plan for testing athletes based in ‘closed cities’, despite the loss of the ‘element of surprise’ due to Russian DCOs having to apply for permits to test athletes based in such cities. 

A remaining milestone is for the Russian government to provide access to the urine samples that are still stored in the Moscow Laboratory. The samples remain sealed off due to a criminal investigation into allegations of Russian doping launched by the SKR on 8 June 2016. Given this and the previously-mentioned investigations into Dr. Rodchenkov and Sobolevsky, it appears unlikely that the SKR will turn over the stored samples until such investigations are complete, and no end dates have been specified.

The other major remaining milestone is for RUSADA, the Ministry of Sport and the National Olympic Committee to publicly accept the outcomes of the investigations into Russian doping performed for WADA by Richard McLaren. If the text of the current NADP is implemented by Sidorkevich without amendments, achieving this looks close to impossible. 

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