Banned From Winter Olympics, Russia Faces Greatest Sports Crisis Since Soviet Era

In Switzerland, Alexander Zhukov, the president of the Russian Olympic Committee, apologized “for violations of antidoping rules that were committed in our country,” though Russian officials have been steadfast that the problem was not systemic or sanctioned by the government.

President Vladimir V. Putin, the most important voice in the decision, was not heard from immediately. He had previously suggested that competing under anything other than the Russian flag would be “humiliating.”

Russia is expected to appeal.

There was also a political facet to it all, especially with Mr. Putin’s re-election campaign unrolling next February, as the games take place.

Some political analysts predicted that it would have no effect on Mr. Putin’s popularity — if anything it might increase his standing — as the president built his current popularity on the idea that he “brought Russia off its knees,” ending the perceived humiliations the West heaped on the ashes of the Soviet Union.

Other political analysts wondered whether the mounting scandals involving Russia might not begin to reverberate. There is the threat of new sanctions from the United States over election hacking, for example, as well as the investigation into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Moscow and a court case in the Netherlands over the shooting down of a Malaysia Airlines

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/05/world/europe/russia-winter-olympics-drugs-ban.html

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