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Russia Olympics ban: Kremlin calls for calm amid anger

File photo taken in February 2014 shows Russia's flag bearer, bobsledder Alexander Zubkov, leading his national delegation during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics Image copyright AFP

The Kremlin says Russia must avoid an “emotional” response to being banned from the Winter Olympics.

Spokesman Dmitr Peskov said the International Olympic Committee’s decision to exclude Russia from the Games in South Korea next February instead required serious analysis.

His call for calm comes amid fury from Russian politicians and athletes.

The IOC made the rulings after two investigations outlined a state-sponsored doping programme in Russia.

Russia will be banned from competing in Pyeongchang, and there will be no Russian flags, anthems or uniforms.

But athletes who can prove they are clean – and have not previously been sanctioned – will be allowed compete under a neutral flag and the name “Olympic Athlete from Russia”, the IOC says.

“The situation is serious, it calls for deep analysis. It would be wrong to give in to emotion here,” Kremlin spokesman Mr Peskov told reporters on Monday.

Mr Peskov said it would be wrong to jump to conclusions until Russia’s athletes had met and the IOC had been contacted.

But he added that it would not be a priority to hold Russian officials responsible.

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Media captionIOC president: An “unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympics”

A member of the Russian parliament, Valery Rashkin, has filed a lawsuit against former sports minister Vitaly Mutko over the row. Mr Mutko has been accused of presiding over a systematic cover-up of doping in Russian sport.

Meanwhile, 22 Russian athletes have appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport over the IOC ban.


‘Humiliation and insult to Russia’

Steven Rosenberg, BBC News, Moscow

The IOC’s decision to exclude Russia from the Winter Olympics has sparked a furious reaction here.

The figure skating trainer Tatyana Tarasova described it as “the murder of Russia’s national sport”.

The deputy speaker of Russia’s parliament said it was a humiliation and an insult to Russia.

In a defiant post on social media, the spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry said Russia would survive this – like it survived world war, the collapse of the Soviet Union and Western sanctions.

Although the Russian team has been banned from competing in South Korea, Russian athletes who can prove they are clean will be permitted to participate under the Olympic flag. But will the Kremlin allow them to?

President Vladimir Putin has in the past described such a scenario as a humiliation for his country.


In 2016, a report by lawyer Richard McLaren said that more than 1,000 Russians – including Olympic medallists – benefited from a state-sponsored doping programme between 2011 and 2015.

The IOC announcement on Tuesday followed a second investigation – the Schmid report – which found evidence of “the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system”, despite repeated Russian denials.

The IOC said the ban “should draw a line under this damaging episode”.


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