Russian President Vladimir Putin has remarked the country will tighten the responsibility for doping abuse by athletes. Putin added law enforcers will be empowered to investigate such cases and also commented that the responsibility must be tightened.

Putin remarked he had discussed the issue with the government and said we have made a decision to support amendments to tighten legislation: to enhance responsibility and to adopt legislation allowing the use of detective and policing methods to let our law enforcers use investigative methods to expose the use and proliferation of doping substances. The Russian President said he also hopes a future State Duma would support the amendments.

Putin said the country is thankful to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) commenting on the situation around accusations of doping abuse by Russian athletes. The Russian head of the state promised to study information provided by WADA on doping among Russian athletes attentively. Putin said we should be thankful to our counterparts from the World Anti-Doping Agency and should treat the information they have provided in a most serious way. The President added Russia has always fought against doping at state level and will continue doing it. Putin also commented we hope the information we will be receiving ourselves or will be getting otherwise will be unbiased and said this is the sphere where conclusions should not be made on the basis of rumors or simply suspicions.

Putin stressed it is inadmissible to rely on the words of people who say it was them to commit violations and spread doping. He added it is them who are violators and who are responsible for this situation. Putin went on to say that the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office and the Investigative Committee is looking into the accusations presently.

Allegations against Russian athletes started to emerge in November when the country’s athletics and anti-doping bodies were accused by WADA of massively breaching anti-doping rules. Last November, the track and field team of Russia was suspended after doping allegations. The decision of the world governing body of athletics to suspend Russia’s track and field team was upheld by the International Olympic Committee that meant Russia track team was banned from this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio.

The IAAF later took a soft stance on clean Russian athletes and said they can submit individual applications to compete in tournaments. The IAAF said on its official website a rule amendment was also passed which means that if there are any individual athletes who can clearly and convincingly show that they are not tainted by the Russian system because they have been outside the country and subject to other effective anti-doping systems, then they should be able to apply for permission to compete in international competitions, not for Russia but as a neutral athlete.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko wrote an open letter to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) head Sebastian Coe in which he remarked the athletes of Russia must not be singled out as the only ones to be punished for a problem that is widely acknowledged to go far beyond our country’s borders. Mutko added Russian sport is healthy and clean, and not like it is shown abroad.

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