Global Analysis from the European Perspective. Preparing for the world of tomorrow




Persona grata

The Russian roster that will be taking part in the Tokyo Olympic Games in a few days time have been banned from wearing any signs of their national identity, including the state’s coat-of-arms, the anthem and the very name Russia or Russian. This is – as is well known to those who are interested in international sports events – a punishment for the apparent state-sponsored doping that was conducted especially during the Sochi Winter Olympic Games. The International Olympic Committee imposed the ban, acting on evidence of the investigation carried out by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which allegedly proved the conscious participation of the Kremlin in this criminal activity.

Grigory Rodchenkov, who at a time worked as the director of the Anti-Doping Centre, Russia’s laboratory accredited to WADA, proved to be key in the whole affair in that he defected to the West and became – a popular term – a whistle-blower. His depositions exposed Russia as a state that wanted to improve its international prestige by hook or by crook. No need to add that Moscow denied the accusations and appealed against them. The ban on Russia to take part in or host major sports events remained in force though its term was shortened. 

No investigation, especially on the part of independent journalists – there are such a lot of them nowadays! – makes sense. It may be that the charges are substantiated, it may be that they are substantiated partly, it may be that they are not. All the affair may have been staged or not, who can tell? We do not have access to all the data from all parts and institutions involved and never will, which is why – as said above – no investigation makes sense. Rather, let us list the things that are there for all to see.

[1] The story recounted by Grigory Rodchenkov was used in the 2017 documentary “Icarus”, which received the 2018 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature;

[2] Grigory Rodchenkov also wrote the book entitled “How I Brought Down Russia’s Secret Doping Empire”, which in 2020 duly received the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award;

[3] the Russian powerful national anthem will not be heard during the Tokyo 2021 Olympics, nor will the watchers see Russian national flags nor hear or read words Russia or Russian.

On the international scene only a Russia stripped of its Russianness is persona grata. 

The logo the Russian sportsmen will be recognised by in Tokyo

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