Russia should react promptly to the recommendations of the World Anti-Doping Agency rather than politicizing the doping scandal involving athletes of the country, Russian President Vladimir Putin remarked.

Putin told Russian government members at a meeting that it is not necessary to politicize anything or advance any conspiracy theory. The Russian President said we need a systemic and timely reaction to the decisions made, including those passed at the level of international organizations. Putin added it is clear that our sports officials failed to realize the importance of these questions.

Putin also commented that it is obvious that our anti-doping legislation needs serious improvement if we experience such failures. The President of Russia also remarked he is asking the government to work on this and other issues to raise the effectiveness of the national fight against doping. He also remarked we should not put forward any conspiracy theories — we should not put forward any conspiracy theories — we should systematically and in a timely manner react to the decisions that are being made, including on the level of international organizations.

Putin, who has been the President of Russia since 7 May 2012, said the Russian side should have specific measures and get in touch with international organizations if it did not know anything about the possible effects of Meldonium use, of which Russian athletes are being accused. The Russian head of the state also remarked they ought to have discussed everything in advance instead of acting in hindsight, if a popular phrase is to be used, and talking profusely of what was right and what was wrong.

Dubbed the World’s Most Powerful Person by Forbes for three years in a row from 2013-2015, Putin said Russia is a disciplined member of the international athletic community and is highly reputable in it and no one has doubts about that. Putin also said we rightly take pride in the achievements of our athletes and no scandal can call in question their results and that is absolutely clear. Putin, who previously served as an officer in the KGBA, said an overwhelming majority of our athletes observe the code of conduct and have nothing to do with prohibited formulas and every measure must be taken to prevent their sports careers from being harmed by these scandals.

Putin blamed sports leadership of the country for the doping scandal. Putin remarked our sports leadership demonstrated lack of understanding of relevance of these issues, did not update on time the relevant lists that were presented by corresponding international structures, did not update our stop-lists, did not inform on time athletes and coaches about the decision of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to ban several substances.

Many prominent Russian athletes, including the tennis star Maria Sharapova and Semion Elistratov, an Olympic gold medalist in speedskating, have recently tested positive for Meldonium. Produced in Latvia (a former Soviet state), the drug is commonly used across Eastern Europe for improving oxygen intake of the heart and blood flow. Meldonium was banned on January 1 this year by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

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