The trouble with Ostarine: Jimmy Wallhead’s
16th March 2018
The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) has yet to appoint a permanent Director General, almost a year after the dismissal of Yuriy Ganus (Ю́рий Га́нус). Ganus was dismissed on 28 August 2020, and 364 days later, RUSADA announced that an ‘open competition’ will be held to replace him.
On 28 August 2020 RUSADA’s Founders, the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC), dismissed Ganus and promised to elect a permanent replacement within six months. Ganus’s dismissal followed an audit commissioned by RUSADA’s Founders, alleging that he was responsible for ‘financial irregularities’ at RUSADA.
This followed Ganus’s disagreement with RUSADA’s Founders on many issues. These include the restoration of the ability of Russian athletes to compete internationally; his position on the changes made to the Moscow Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS); on whether RUSADA should appeal the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) sanction for manipulation of the LIMS; whether investigations are needed into allegations of systemic youth doping in Chuvashia, and more.
Ganus disputed the audit’s findings, and alleged that RUSADA’s Charter was changed by RUSADA’s Supervisory Board to prevent his deputy, Margarita Pakhnotskaya (Маргарита Пахноцкая) from taking over his position. Pakhnotskaya resigned shortly before Ganus was dismissed.
In November 2019, a Report alleged intravenous infusions were being used in Chuvashia at volumes prohibited by WADA, and RUSADA estimated 74 anti-doping rule violations (ADRVs) were involved. Marina Efremova (Марина Ефремова) and Artem Afanasiev (Артем Афанасьев) from the Chuvashia region were eventually sanctioned for use/attempted use of a prohibited substance and/or method but other than this, RUSADA hasn’t publicised any statement of conclusion regarding its investigations in Chuvashia.
Ganus argues that the audit commissioned by RUSADA’s Founders was an attempt to discredit RUSADA’s work as revenge for uncovering youth doping in Chuvashia, and for assisting WADA with its investigations into the Danil Lysenko (Данил Лысенко) case. Artem Patsev (Артем Пацев), who led the Independent Working Group (IWG) that compiled the Chuvashia Report, argues that RUSADA may have been involved in casting his role in the Lysenko case in a bad light, as revenge for allegations about RUSADA’s investigatory techniques in the IWG Report.
Embezzlement of State funds, of which the audit alleges Ganus is guilty, is a serious crime in any country. As such, one would expect criminal charges to be levied against Ganus. None have been forthcoming. A cynic might therefore question whether the allegations made in the audit are underpinned by facts.
Ganus’s predecessor at RUSADA was Anna Antseliovich (Анна Анцелиович). She reportedly represented some of the athletes involved in the Chuvash investigation in taking legal action against Ganus. She was part of RUSADA’s ‘old guard’, having worked there for six years prior to her appointment as Director General. She was also accused of informing an athlete about when a doping test would take place, back in 2014. She is also the new Head of the Sports Law practice at Patsev’s law firm, having been appointed in December 2020.
When Ganus was dismissed on 28 August 2020, Mikhail Bukhanov (Михаил Буханов) was appointed acting Director General of RUSADA by its Founders. The ROC statement mentioned that he was formerly Head of RUSADA’s Legal Department. However, a search using his name on RUSADA’s internet site reveals that the first mention of him is on 20 October 2020, after he replaced Ganus. His RUSADA biography contains no information about him.
Bukhanov has told Russian State news agency TASS that he intends to compete in the ‘open competition’ to make his position as Director General permanent. No other candidates have come forward.
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