Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
* This article was amended on 22 April, largely through the addition of footnotes, after Ganus sent The Sports Integrity Initiative a 6 April letter, addressed ‘to all stakeholders’. It is assumed that it was also presented as RUSADA’s ‘response and clarifications’ to issues highlighted in this article at the 6 April Compliance Review Committee (CRC) meeting of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The Sports Integrity Initiative asked Ganus if it could publish the letter as a response to this article, but did not receive a reply.
Anyone who has ever played management meeting bingo will recognise the phrase ‘actions speak louder than words’. In recent months, despite public assertions of independence, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency’s (RUSADA) actions suggest that it is receiving instructions from the Russian State.
These actions include:
• The apparent suppression of a Report into prohibited methods used within the Chuvash Republic;
• Refusal to assist in compiling the Report;
• A meeting between Yuriy Ganus (Юрия Гануса), RUSADA’s Director General, and Igor Sidorkevich (Игорь Сидоркевич), Russia’s Deputy Minister of Sport, the day before RUSADA’s Supervisory Board announced its recommendation that the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) decision to declare RUSADA non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code should be appealed;
• Retention of a law firm that appears to have ties with a non-commercial entity utilised to support appeals against sanctions.
This is a long article. It needs to be in order to outline the complex connections between Russian State authorities and sport, and the central chain of command that appears to control responses to threats to the interests of the Russian Federation. One of those interests is sport.
At just over 400 miles from Moscow, Cheboksary, the capital of the Chuvash Republic, is not far from the capital in Russian terms. On 17 June last year, RUSADA announced that an investigation had detected 60 cases of potential anti-doping rule violations (ADRVs) within the Republic, including 33 cases of ADRVs involving athletes.
Those accused included members of Russia’s national team, and RUSADA said that at least a third of those discovered to have used the prohibited method were minors. The next day, journalists contacted Mikhail Ignatyev (Михаи́л Игна́тьев), President of the Chuvash Republic. He was apparently surprised and unaware of the situation, but promised to investigate.
Those familiar with anti-doping will know that anti-doping organisations (ADOs) do not share details of investigations unless there is a case to answer. However, it is difficult to imagine that Chuvash authorities were not aware of RUSADA’s investigation, given that it ran from June 2017 until June 2019, and involved interviews with over 140 people.
One of Ignatyev’s deputies, Ivan Motorin (Иван Моторин), Chairman of the Cabinet Council of the Chuvash Republic, established an Independent Working Group (IWG) on 9 August last year to investigate. The IWG argues that due to RUSADA not sharing information about its investigation with the local authorities, such a step was necessary to ascertain whether further action needs to be taken.
Its detailed Report (PDF below) was published in Russian on a dedicated website on 15 November last year. An English version was published late on 9 December last year. The timing is highly significant. The English version was made available only after WADA’s Executive Board declared RUSADA non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code for a four year period. It is understood that the IWG was asked to delay publication of the English version of the Report until after WADA had taken its decision.
The IWG’s findings include:
• Intravenous infusions in excess of permissible limits were prescribed and administered to athletes;
• Intravenous infusions in excess of permissible limits were prescribed and administered to students;
• Substances administered via IV drips to students included Neoton, Reamberin, Animoplasmal, Cytoflavin, and Asparcam-L;
• Students were allowed to take medication out of the Medical Office at the College – including IV drip equipment;
• Medication was given to College students to sell;
• A 2017 Criminal case against Dr. Svetlana Lareva of the College’s Medical Office was terminated, as police found she didn’t intend to use a prohibited method;
• Vitamin B intra-muscular injections were administered to students;
• In order to participate in competitions, students had to visit the Medical Office.
RUSADA later upgraded its estimation to 74 ADRVs connected with its investigation. At first glance, in comparison with RUSADA’s bombastic June 2019 statement, the IWG’s findings appear somewhat tame. Its Report emphasises that it did not discover any cases where doctors or officials at the College had administered prohibited substances to athletes or students, or any cases where athletes or students had used prohibited substances. It did find evidence about the administration of prohibited methods in excess of WADA’s permissible limits.
Except in the course of medical treatment, intravenous infusions were prohibited by WADA from 2005 until 2012. In 2012, the Prohibited List prohibited intravenous infusions of more than 50mL per six hour period, unless required during the course of hospital treatment. In 2018, WADA changed this definition to prohibiting intravenous infusions of more than 100mL per 12 hour period, except for those received during the course of ‘hospital treatments, surgical procedures or clinical diagnostic investigations’.
The RUSADA investigation found that the Republican Centre of Medical Prevention, Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Chuvash Republic’s Ministry of Health, had administered an intravenous infusion in excess of permissible limits to an athlete. Formerly called ‘The Dispensary’, which in itself speaks volumes, it is the body responsible for the medical supervision of everybody involved in sports within the Chuvash Republic. Its Chief Physician is Dr. Arnold Karzakov (Арнольд Карзаков), who has managed the Centre since 1990.
Karzakov and the Centre mentioned above were responsible for managing the Medical Office at the Cheboksary College of Olympic Reserve, as outlined on its internet site. The College was established via an order from the Chuvash Ministry of Education in 1983, and is located close to the centre of the Republic’s capital, Cheboksary. It is managed by the Ministry of Physical Culture and Sports of the Chuvash Republic and the Republican Centre of Medical Prevention, Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Chuvash Republic’s Ministry of Health and Ministry of Sports.
Today, it educates over 200 students aged between 13 and 19 and is a highly respected sporting institution. Since its establishment in 1983, 16 of its students have gone on to compete at the Olympics. In 2020, 47 of its students were members of Russia’s national teams. As such, the Report’s findings regarding its practices are alarming.
Students were required to visit the Medical Office in order to compete, and were often administered unnecessary medication, the Report found. The food provided by the College was inadequate, and was often supplemented by relatives and parents. Medication is often cheaper than providing the nutrition required by an athlete, and was routinely written off before being used, leading to an accumulation of medication at the Office. In addition, coaches at the College were only paid if they trained Russian Championship medalists. And students were allowed to take medication and IV drip equipment out of the Medical Office.
The Head of the Medical Office at the College was Dr. Svetlana Lareva (Светлана Ларева). As well as detailing her administration of intravenous infusions to athletes, the Report outlines that she allowed students to take IV drip equipment and medication out of the Office.
On 8 June 2017, Dr. Lareva administered a 250mL Reamberin infusion to an athlete, in excess of the limit of 50ml over six hours that was in place at the time. During the infusion, the Medical Office was raided by RUSADA and the Police. In November of that year, Russia’s first criminal doping case against Dr. Lareva was dropped, as her lack of knowledge about anti-doping meant that it could not be proven that she had intended to administer a prohibited method to athletes. But proof of intent is not required to secure an ADRV under the World Anti-Doping Code.
Amazingly, Dr. Lareva continued to manage the Medical Office at the College until Summer 2019. This is despite her admission to administering prohibited methods (infusions of more than 50mL in six hours) to athletes, as well as apparently being caught in the act by RUSADA officials, as outlined above. RUSADA did not act.
Officials, including Dr. Lareva, attempted to argue that they understood that WADA’s prohibition on IV infusions of more than 50mL only applied six hours before competition (see right). The IWG was not satisfied with this explanation, adding that the issue was only discussed in 2017 after changes to Russia’s Criminal Code meant that physicians could face a medical ban for administering prohibited methods to athletes.
In December 2016, the Spanish anti-doping agency (AEPSAD) launched an investigation into footballer Samir Nasri, after he used a one litre IV drip. This high profile case brought WADA’s limits on IV infusions firmly into the public eye. Arguably, this should have alerted Chuvash physicians to the IV limits.
The IWG Report contains numerous interviews with student athletes who were administered prohibited IV drips under the apparent direction of Dr. Lareva. Mikhail Kuznetsov (Михаил Кузнецов), a Coach at the Sports School of Olympic Reserve No. 3 in nearby Novocheboksarsk, said that he knew that medications were being given by the Medical Office to students, and alleged that Dr. Lareva had pressured athletes to change their statements. ‘The coach is angry that RUSADA took no action against the doctors of the Medical Office for two years, starting from 8 June 2017’, reads the Report.
Nikolay Panfilov (Николай Панфилов), Head Coach of the Chuvash Republic Athletics Team, alleged that Dr. Karzakov sent Dr. Lareva a list of athlete names who required ‘special attention’ due to ‘insufficient medications’. The Report found that this list ‘included athletes who were representing other regions of Russia alongside Chuvashia’1.
Dr. Lareva initially refused to cooperate with the IWG’s investigation. She refused to be interviewed if any recording equipment was used, and refused to assist in obtaining the documents it required.
It appears that this was not unusual. The IWG found (see right) that many interviewees changed their position regarding their recollection of events, and that many staff were on holiday when it turned up to interview them. This suggests a managed response.
This included nurse Erza Gregorieva (Эрза Григорьева), who made statements contradicting her previous statements each time she was interviewed. ‘The Group has to conclude that Ms. Gregorieva is very likely to have received instructions on what she had to do or what she had to answer to the Group’s questions and, perhaps, she was threatened by somebody in the background’, reads the Report.
While Dr. Lareva doesn’t feature on the Republican Centre’s list of practicing doctors, her profile remains on its internet site. However, a telephone call to the Centre revealed that she no longer works there. Her dismissal was one of the main recommendations of the IWG’s Report, as was the dismissal of Dr. Karzakov. However, it appears that Dr. Karzakov still heads the Republican Centre of Medical Prevention, Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine. He is listed as its Chief Doctor and welcomes visitors to its website.
As mentioned, the IWG Report found that despite RUSADA’s two year investigation, Dr. Lareva continued to practice until the summer of 2019 (see right). It would appear that Dr. Karzakov’s removal was hampered by January’s government reshuffle spurred by Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin.
As part of the reshuffle, Mikhail Ignatyev was replaced as President of the Chuvash Republic along with Ivan Motorin, who commissioned the IWG Report, and Vladimir Viktorov (Владимир Викторов), who led its Ministry of Health. The Report was published in November 2019, and it would appear that between November 2019 and the end of January 2020, Viktorov failed to act on its recommendation to remove Dr. Karzakov, who remains in place.
Ignatyev, Motorin, and Viktorov are controversial figures. In January this year, Ignatyev reportedly said it was necessary to “wipe out” journalists who are critical of Russian authorities. Motorin has reportedly been prosecuted for using offensive language against a fellow government minister. Viktorov, a dentist, caused controversy two years ago by claiming that women who have more than seven sexual partners risk infertility (his comments, in Russian, are available through the link below).
Министр здравоохранения Чувашии рассказал, как определить бесплодие у женщин.
В зале, как он отметил, "все оживились"
— Настоящее Время (@CurrentTimeTv) February 20, 2018
As well as finding issues of malpractice and a general lack of awareness of anti-doping regulations and which substances are prohibited, the IWG Report found that the Chuvash Republic failed to act on all its recommendations. It also found that officials were unwilling to cooperate and put pressure on others to corroborate their version of events. It also alleged that another body employed similar practices.
The Report is heavily critical of RUSADA’s investigation techniques. It alleges that during the 8 June 2017 raid on the Medical Office at the College, RUSADA employees threatened Dr. Lareva, resulting in a hypertensive crisis resulting in an ambulance being summoned. It alleges (see right) that RUSADA investigators refused to stop the IV infusion being administered to a student athlete, instructing nurse Gregorieva to “let it drip dry”.
It is also alleged that RUSADA officials dictated statements for Dr. Lareva and students at the College to write down, as well as making oral corrections during this process. The Report states that RUSADA provided false information to athletes and students, claiming that it was not building cases against them, but against doctors.
Minors were obliged to attend RUSADA interviews and although an adult was present as required, the Report alleges that minors were not informed about this. The Report alleges that minors were threatened with automatic disqualification into including false information in their testimonies, despite their objections.
The Report mentions that the allegations against RUSADA appear ‘so shocking and non-credible’ that the IWG went to great lengths in order to verify their accuracy. It outlines that athletes and students who had never met each other verified that two RUSADA Anti-Doping Rule Violations Investigation Department (ADRVID) officials in particular were responsible for such actions. They were Aleksandr Efimov and Ya.V. Stetsyuk.
Dr. Lareva recalled that she was threatened by Leonid Ivanov, Head of RUSADA’s Anti-Doping Rule Violation Investigation Department (ADRVID). Ivanov apparently told her (see right) that he was not a doctor or a lawyer, but a ‘hunter’.
RUSADA refused to cooperate with the IWG, and the appendices of its Report reveal that it refused a request from the IWG to interview anybody involved in its investigation. A confidential witness employed by RUSADA told the IWG that the environment within the organisation is unhealthy, as employees are afraid of being fired.
As such, the IWG calls for an investigation into RUSADA by an independent body, adding that it has transferred its information to WADA. WADA has said that the Report will be discussed at its next Compliance Review Committee (CRC) meeting, scheduled for April2.
The Report also mentions that evidence was received alleging similar techniques during another investigation. In addition, documents obtained by The Sports Integrity Initiative confirm that RUSADA employees acted in a similar manner during investigations into other anti-doping rule violations (ADRVs). This corroborates the allegations about RUSADA’s behaviour, which was not exclusive to its Chuvashia investigation.
The Report surmises that such methods are used by RUSADA in order to maximise ADRVs. It adds that athletes are doubly disadvantaged by not being able to directly contact RUSADA’s Ethics Officer Alexander Filatov (Александр Филатов), whose contact details do not feature on its internet site, and by the lack of a RUSADA Athlete Commission.
‘This resembles the notorious system, which existed and actually still exists in the Russian police’, reads footnote 131 (right) of the Report. ‘The essence of this system is that performance in the law enforcement agencies is assessed by qualitative indicators, and each crime or crime episode that has been declared as solved just “ticks the box”. The main thing is to tick as many boxes as possible in order to increase the indicator of the unit performance. Each police officer or department, or regional unit should tick a certain number of boxes within a certain period of time, in various categories. Accordingly, the RUSADA management should not expect the ADRVID employees to apply a different approach to assessing their own performance, since they used to work for the law enforcement agencies and surely inherited their internal policies.’
The origins of such a system are also outlined in this article, which alleges police only investigate crimes where they know who was involved, in order to improve statistical rates of conviction. It also alleges – as does the Report RUSADA investigators – that witness statements are altered and fabricated in order to improve statistical conviction rates.
These interrogation techniques appear to have been targeted at securing ADRVs against athletes and students, and not against the administrators, doctors and staff responsible for running such a system. On 4 February, as detailed in the Instagram post below, staff from the College attended an anti-doping seminar organised by RUSADA. It appears that it is business as usual at the College, despite RUSADA’s dramatic announcement in June last year.
As well as refusing to cooperate with the IWG, RUSADA failed to send an official response regarding the Report’s findings to The Sports Integrity Initiative. A source said that after The Sports Integrity Initiative contacted Ganus, a questionnaire was sent around the organisation asking if employees supported the conclusions of the IWG’s Report.
It is understood RUSADA’s position is that the IWG’s Report is an attempt to smear RUSADA, as it is undoubtably critical of its techniques. The Chair of the IWG is Artem Patsev (Артем Пацев), who represented former Russian Minister of Sport Vitaly Mutko in his successful appeal against the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decision to sanction him with a lifetime ban from the Olympics.
In 2015, Patsev alleged that WADA’s investigations into Russia were a “political hit-job” against Russia. Patsev is a sports lawyer with Clover Consult, which counted the All Russian Athletes Federation (ARAF) amongst its clients, before it changed its name to RusAF. It also represented ARAF in successful legal action against German journalist Hajo Seppelt over allegations made in a documentary exposing doping within Russia3.
Patsev argues that the links above refer to an old version of the company’s internet site (the new version is here). He argues that he was appointed privately by Mutko, and the Chuvash Republic appointed him to lead an independent report. He also emphatically denies any connection to the Russian State or Russian athletics.
Patsev’s team included Askhab Gadzhiev (Асхаб Гаджиев) and Sergei Kondratiev (Сергей Кондратьев). Gadzhiev is Chief Medical Officer of Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), and his LinkedIn profile reveals that he was Project Manager for the Anti-Doping Department at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, where it was later discovered that the Russian State operated a system for covering up doping positives.
The President of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Organising Committee was Dmitry Chernyshenko (Дмитрий Чернышенко), who was appointed as Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sports on 21 January. He appointed Oleg Matytsin (Олега Матыцина) to replace Pavel Kolobkov as Russia’s Minister of Sport.
This doesn’t mean that Gadzhiev was involved in State doping in any way. However, Rightly or wrongly, the details outlined above are likely to raise suspicion about his connections to the State.
From 1999 until 2006, Kondratiev worked for the Moscow City Investigative Committee (Московский городской следственный комитет), a branch of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (Sledcom or SKR). After 2006, it is understood that he opened his own practice defending people involved in civil and commercial procedures. Patsev said that Kondratiev’s experience in procedural investigations was invaluable to the IWG’s work.
The above could perhaps offer an explanation as to why Ganus is suspicious of the IWG’s Report4. It was commissioned by a State body, the government of the Chuvash Republic. In addition, its three man team appear to have historic connections to the Russian State and its investigative authorities.
As usual, the truth may be more complicated. This is because RUSADA has connections to Russia’s Ministry of Sport and Ganus has connections to its federal security service (FSB), the successor to the KGB.
On 18 December Yuriy Ganus, RUSADA’s Director General, held a meeting with Igor Sidorkevich (Игорь Сидоркевич), one of six Deputy Russian Ministers of Sport. The meeting was a day before RUSADA’s Supervisory Board announced its recommendation that WADA’s decision to declare RUSADA non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code for a four year period should be appealed.
Ganus publicly argued that although he fought for an independent RUSADA, outside interference in its activities meant that he was forced into signing a letter notifying WADA about RUSADA’s intention to appeal. However, it is understood that at the 18 December meeting with Sidorkevich, it was agreed that RUSADA would be allowed to be involved with the reinstatement of RusAF if it didn’t endorse the IWG’s Report. RUSADA failed to respond to questions regarding the meeting5.
Ganus and RUSADA’s Deputy Director, Margarita Pakhnotskaya (Маргарита Пахноцкая), proposed the creation of the working group to reinstate RusAF on 5 December. A statement from the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), which led the working group, shows that Ganus and Pakhnotskaya were appointed alongside the Ministry of Sport as members. A later statement shows that Ganus and Pakhnotskaya attended meetings on RusAF’s reinstatement.
On 18 February, four candidates for the post of RusAF President and 44 candidates for the RusAF Board were announced. By 27 February, there was only one Presidential candidate – Yevgeny Yurchenko (Евгений Юрченко) and 31 RusAF Board candidates. The three other Presidential candidates withdrew, reported AP.
RusAF’s electoral criteria were very strict. Any candidate for the RusAF Presidency or RusAF Board must:
1. Be put forward by the regional sporting associations;
2. Not be subject to an anti-doping investigation;
3. Not be recognised by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) as having committed an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV);
4. Not be recognised by the CAS as having committed an ethics violation;
5. Not have trained or have been athlete support personnel to an athlete who has committed an ADRV;
6. Not have been employed by RusAF in anti-doping work from 2009 to 2019, or have been the member of an advisory body on anti-doping;
7-9. Not have been elected by RusAF’s conference from 2 November 2012, or have been a member of RusAF’s management bodies from then until 3 February 2020;
10. Not be subject to a written recommendation from World Athletics, its Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), or the ROC’s Working Group preventing them from holding elected leadership positions in RusAF.
It could be argued that such measures are necessary in order to ensure that the new leadership is free from the allegations of corruption that have dogged RusAF since Russian State doping was exposed in 2014. However, it has also been argued that the criteria were used to exclude candidates not favourable to the interests of Russia’s Ministry of Sport6.
In this VKontakte post, one of the candidates for election to the RusAF Board alleges that he was unfairly excluded. The candidate, who is from the Republic of Khakassia (Хака́сия), alleges that he was not allowed to enter the RusAF election at the ROC offices. He said that Ganus told him that he had been removed from the election under Article 5 of RusAF’s electoral criteria.
‘I have never been found to have violated anti-doping rules’, reads the post. ‘Nevertheless, a year and a half ago I was employed as a coach at a sports school in Khakassia and in early December, my spouse was enrolled in my group. She was disqualified due to anomalies in her Athlete Biological Passport in 2012 […] All the criteria were prescribed solely to clear objectionable candidates.’
The post explains that Presidential candidate Mikhail Gusev (Михаил Гусев) received a similar explanation when he turned up at the RusAF election. Gusev alleges that he only learned his name had been removed from the list of candidates via RusAF’s internet site. Another Presidential candidate, Oleg Kurbatov (Олег Курбатов) was excluded due to prevention of candidates who were involved in the management of RusAF from 2 November 2012 to 3 February 2020, criteria which he told Tass are ‘invalid’. Kurbatov was also removed from a December 2019 RusAF conference at the request of the ROC.
The fourth candidate, Yuriy Borzavokskiy (Юрий Борзаковский), Head Coach of the Russian national team, told SportsBox that he was withdrawing as he didn’t meet the above criteria. Borzavokskiy was Vice President of RusAF from December 2016 until December 2019.
The election of Evgeniy Yurchenko (Евгений Юрченко) took place at the ROC offices on 28 February. His appointment was announced (see right) by Oleg Matytsin (Олега Матыцина), Russia’s new Minister of Sport, Lev Stepanov (Лев Степанов), an in-house lawyer for the ROC, and Stanislav Pozdnyakov (Станислав Поздняков), President of the ROC. In 2012, Matytsin narrowly avoided criminal prosecution over a land deal that cost the Russian State €1.75 million.
The picture on the right shows Ganus and Ministry of Sport representatives at the conference that announced the appointment of Yurchenko. On the far left side is Kseniya Mashkova (Ксения Машкова), who was a member of the Russian expert group that assisted WADA in extracting the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) from the Moscow Laboratory, which was later found to have been manipulated. Mashkova is a sports arbitration specialist at the Moscow State University of Law (MSAL), and is understood to be assisting RUSADA’s appeal against WADA’s sanction.
Mashkova has recently been appointed as a Deputy Minister of Sport following January’s government reshuffle. Sidorkevich remains as a Deputy Minister of Sport, despite serving as a Deputy under the previous Minister, Pavel Kolobkov. Ganus has been critical of those responsible for the manipulation of the LIMS, but never of Sidorkevich. “We have established good relations with the Deputy Minister of Sports, Mr. Sidorkevich”, he told L’Equipe.
Ganus and Sidorkevich have a similar background. Sidorkevich’s biography confirms that from 2001-6 he worked for the FSB. Ganus was a member of the Board of Directors of Sevmash, a company that builds nuclear submarines for the Russian military from 2014, his Wikipedia profile confirms. One of Sevmash’s major clients is the FSB and as such, it is understood that the FSB is involved in vetting Sevmash’s employees because they have access to sensitive military information.
Ganus graduated from the Academy of the Prosecutor General in Saint Petersburg (see picture, right) in 2000. Sidorkevich graduated from the North West Academy of Public Administration, also in St. Petersburg, during 2000. The two institutions are less than five kilometres apart7.
Like Ganus, Yurchenko came from nowhere to head RusAF8. Like Ganus and Sidorkevich, his biography reveals a State background. As well as serving in the Russian military, Yurchenko has been a board member of United Aircraft Corporation (Объединенная авиастроительная корпорация) since June 2016. The company supplies military aircraft to the Russian State.
Under Russian legislation, State bodies must hold a tender process for services they intend to contract out to commercial companies. An exception is made if the service is contracted out to a non-profit organisation.
The International Centre for Legal Protection (ICLP) was established in 2015. It is run by Andrey Kondakov (Андрей Кондаков), and was set up to ‘defend the interests of the Russian Federation’, such as in the Yukos case. Kondakov and the ICLP have also been involved in representing Russian athletes at the CAS.
At the CAS, they represented the 28 athletes whose appeals against IOC sanctions in relation to doping at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics were upheld by the CAS. The ICLP also represented Ivan Ukhov in his appeal to the CAS (see pictures, right). Another company is also often mentioned alongside the ICLP – Schellenberg Wittmer.
The Swiss law firm has represented many Russian athletes, such as Yuliya Kondakova, Ekaterina Glazyrina, and Svetlana Shkolina, in appeals to the CAS. It also represented Russian athletes involved in procedures stemming from the IOC’s Oswald Commission, such as Aleksandr Tretiakov and Alexandr Zubkov.
It is understood that the Swiss firm also represented RusAF in drafting its reply to charges levelled by World Athletics in connection to the Danil Lysenko case. The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) of World Athletics said that RusAF had ‘gone to great lengths to deny any involvement in the matter, blame others and attack the process’.
It is also the law firm chosen by the ROC to represent the interests of RUSADA in its challenge to WADA’s decision to declare it non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code for a four year period. A source alleged that Russia’s Ministry of Sport will cover the cost of any appeals by Russian athletes to the CAS through money paid to the ICLP, so long as the athletes retain Schellenberg Wittmer.
RUSADA has retained the same firm. Sources allege that this suggests RUSADA’s appeal against WADA’s decision to declare it non-compliant with the Code may be being managed by Russia’s Ministry of Sport. There is no indication that the Swiss law firm knows anything about any of this. It did not respond to emailed questions from The Sports Integrity Initiative.
Because the public sees suspensions of RUSADA and RusAF, it is often assumed that the problem is with corrupt sporting institutions. Sport can only sanction sport, not States. The reason why the State connections outlined above are important is because the major finding of numerous investigations into systemic Russian doping was that it was orchestrated by the State. The most recent manifestation of this was the apparent manipulation of the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) retrieved from the Moscow Laboratory.
On 11-12 March, the Council of World Athletics will meet to consider RusAF’s recent recognition that the previous administration of RusAF obstructed an investigation into high jumper Danil Lysenko. After RusAF’s admission, Russia’s Ministry of Sport restored State accreditation to RusAF, which indicated that World Athletics was receptive to the changes it has made.
Unlike the rules of other international federations, nothing in World Athletics’ Constitution (click here to download) requires Member Federations to remain independent from the State. However, Article 9.1(c) requires Member Federations to hold democratic elections. Whether World Athletics is prepared to accept the election of a Member Federation President with State connections, in a process that appears to have been managed by the State, remains to be seen.
Apart from obvious concerns over prohibited methods, medication and medical equipment being given to athletes and minors, the reason that the IWG Report is significant is because its findings expose these State connections. A regional Ministry of Healthcare was involved in administering prohibited methods to athletes, including minors, and not only in Chuvashia. The involved officials were not removed from office, and were not sanctioned by RUSADA. State interrogation techniques were used by RUSADA in an apparent attempt to blame athletes and students. RUSADA refused to cooperate with the IWG’s investigation.
The Russian State orchestrated systemic doping, and it now appears to control RusAF and RUSADA. While the guards have changed, the palace remains the same. It would appear Russia has realised that World Athletics and WADA have no jurisdiction over State bodies. How sport will deal with these issues will be fascinating to watch.
1. In his letter to stakeholders, Ganus argues that the statement of Panfilov should be discounted. He argues that this is because an athlete he coached, Svetlana Vasilyeva (Светлана Васильева), had previously been sanctioned for an ADRV based on analysis of her Athlete Biological Passport (ABP), and because Panfilov called for other coaches to join a lawsuit against him for destroying his honour as a coach. How this affects Panfilov’s evidence to the IWG is not clear.↩
2. WADA confirmed that the IWG Report was discussed at its 6 April CRC meeting. ‘The CRC also reviewed the response and clarifications provided by RUSADA in this respect’, read a spokesperson’s email. ‘Following the discussion, the CRC recommended that the appropriate WADA departments continue monitoring this evolving situation and provide regular updates regarding this file to the CRC’.↩
3. In his 9 April letter to stakeholders, Ganus argues that Patsev also represented Danil Lysenko, which involved charges and eventual sanctions against RusAF for forging documentation in order to assist his case. Patsev denies any involvement in this and argues that he was retained by Lysenko in February 2019, after the forging of documentation took place at the end of July 2018. Notice of his three whereabouts failures was sent to Lysenko on 25 July 2018, after which documents were sent to the AIU and he was provisionally suspended on 3 August 2018. A statement from the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) of World Athletics reveals that its investigations into the case, alongside RUSADA, took place between 10 April and 21 November 2019, and the AIU ‘concluded that the explanations were false and supported by forged documents’. As such, any document forgeries must have taken place before the documents were sent to the AIU and before his provisional suspension on 3 August 2018.↩
4. In his letter to stakeholders, Ganus alleges that the Managing Partner of Patsev’s legal firm, Clover Consult, represents the interests of the vast majority of the 70 Chuvash athletes RUSADA is investigating for ADRVs. Patsev denies this accusation, arguing that they are represented by other lawyers that he knows, but which he has acted against in previous proceedings.↩
5. Ganus’s letter to stakeholders appears to argue that this article asserts that this meeting was to discuss RUSADA’s appeal. It doesn’t. As stated, a source said that the meeting discussed whether RUSADA would be allowed to be involved with the reinstatement of RusAF if it didn’t endorse the IWG’s Report. Ganus argues that this meeting didn’t discuss either RUSADA’s appeal against WADA’s decision to declare it non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code, or RusAF’s reinstatement, but other issues in the fight against doping.↩
6. In his letter to stakeholders, Ganus argues that this is wrong and has no basis, since RUSADA came up with the criteria.↩
7. In his letter to stakeholders, Ganus clarified that there are dozens of educational institutes based within 5km in St. Petersburg.↩
8. In his letter to stakeholders, Ganus clarified that there are dozens of educational institutes based within 5km in St. Petersburg.↩
Sport’s integrity bodies are appealing for the governing bodies of individual sports and bookmakers to...