What is Vladimir Putin's favorite sport

Propaganda machine: the IOC and Putin and the unity of sport and politics

Sport has nothing to do with politics. Not in Russia. (Photo source: President of Russia)

The names of the two main politically responsible persons for the gigantic, criminal doping fraud system in Russian sport (including the cheating of many thousands of athletes from all over the world) appear only three times in Richard McLaren's rather preliminary investigation report.

Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev.

President and Prime Minister.

At the time when the now collapsed system was conceived and commissioned, one was - role reversal - one prime minister and the other president. Does it make a difference?

So Putin and Medvedev. Those men who, since yesterday, have promised and carried out dismissals of “those responsible” and commissioned the judiciary. The latest “report” on this: Medvedev says that Minister of Sport Vitaly Mutko will remain in office.


In 2007, Putin brought the 2014 Winter Games to Sochi in Guatemala under highly dubious circumstances at the IOC session. Putin was president at the time.

In 2008, as mentioned in the McLaren report, Medvedev, now Russian President, made Putin's St. Petersburg follower Mutko Minister of Sport, even though he was formally prime minister.

In spring 2010, after Russia's disastrous performance at the Vancouver Winter Games, NOK President Leonid Tjagachev (KGB agent IM Elbrus) was dismissed. Medvedev and Putin installed Alexander Zhukov from the Putin party as head of the NOK - Zhukov has also been an IOC member since 2013. In addition, almost all of the leadership of the association was replaced, and oligarchs and politicians loyal to Putin were almost always at the top of the professional associations. Medvedev swore the servants in the sports leadership, NOK and associations and ministry, to the new line. If you follow the links set here, you will get to numerous speeches, documents, videos and are welcome to get an idea of ​​them.

For example, in March 2010 in Sochi, Medvedev decreed to the assembled sports leaders:

The level of medical, biological and scientific support for the teams plays a crucial part in this respect but we only began using this comprehensive approach in our team's training last year, and we may as well not hide the fact that it is not yet implemented in full. The task therefore is to dramatically change this situation drawing on the most advanced international experience in this area.

Mission accomplished.

Four years later there were medals and orders.

Photo: President of Russia

These 2010 events are not mentioned in the McLaren Report. Since McLaren didn't write a political report, that's okay, but those details are important to the bigger picture.

McLaren notes, however, that after the Vancouver Games, Putin appointed Juri Nagornich as deputy to the sports minister, Mutko, by decree. Nagornich who coordinated the doping measures and who has now been suspended by Medvedev. Nagornich was (and still is) a member of the NOK (ROC) Executive Committee.

Needless to say that Putin yesterday again complained about the mixing of sport and politics?

It is pointless to report as supposed news every lie, ruse and flatulence that comes from Moscow during these hours (and that with the help of some of the most expensive PR agencies and truth-forgers on the planet).

What I'm getting at right now, right before the IOC Executive Committee's crisis consultation: The flawless propaganda that Putin is (again) doing coincides to a large extent with statements made by leading officials in world Olympic sport, all of whom are Putin, by the way Parliamentary group and thus also the incumbent IOC President Thomas Bach. That is very politely phrased: “to be close”.

Photo: President of Russia

Photo: President of Russia

Photo: President of Russia

Photo: President of Russia

Photo: President of Russia

Photo: President of Russia

You will find many stories and facts about almost all of these sometimes obscure characters here on the blog. An incomplete list, yesterday and the day before yesterday I reproduced some of them in detail in two articles:

  • Patrick Hickey (Ireland), IOC executive member tending to private business as an ANOC representative, EOC president, friend of the NOK presidents Alexander Lukashenko and Ílham Aliyev, with whom he pushed through the corrupt European Games project. Now Hickey wants to host the second European Games in Russia in 2019.
  • Julio César Maglione (Uruguay), President of the world swimming federation FINA and the American Olympic organization PASO, IOC member until 2015 (retired for reasons of age), who is the focus of the investigation because of various opaque doping deals with the Russians. Maglione already honored Putin with the highest FINA medal in 2014 because Putin's involvement in sport strengthens “brotherhood between nations” in the “spirit of peace and friendship”. Maglione was in Moscow for crisis meetings last week.
  • Nenad Lalovic (Serbia), as president of the world wrestling federation UWW (formerly FILA) and savior of the Olympic wrestling (in a historic action together with envoys from Putin and Obama) extremely supported by the Russians. Lalovic has also been an IOC member since 2015 and sits on the WADA Foundation Board. His daughter, Lalovic, who always acts straight ahead, makes no secret of it, works as a Gazprom manager in Belgrade.
  • Bruno Grandi (Italy), the aged president of the FIG gymnastics federation, traditionally a Russian domain. Grandi, now 82, was an IOC member until two years ago.
  • René Fasel (Switzerland), as the eternal president of the World Ice Hockey Federation IIHF, almost a half-Russian. IOC member and as head of the AOIWF Association of Winter Sports Associations, member of the IOC Executive Committee.
  • Marius Vizer (Austria, actually Romania, that's also an interesting story), President of the Judo World Association IJF and has long been friends with the judoka Putin, whom he first became honorary president of the European Association and later after Putin had helped Vizer's rise to the position of world association head (initiated did the campaign become honorary president of the IJF at a meeting in?… Sochi, of course). In the interim election of Vizer as the boss of the Association of All World Sports Federations (SportAccord) in Putin's hometown of St. Petersburg, the Russian hosts also tied the result.

I will certainly continue the list.

Now I would like the two strands (Olympic business; Russia's sports policy, which can hardly be called Soft power can denote) and hope to be able to give you a compass in assessing the situation.

I think these elements are at least as important, and probably even more important in making a decision in these hours, than the facts McLaren (and others before) put together. Because in the Olympic parallel society the facts rarely dominate, rather Olympic ideology paired in this case with Putin’s propaganda.

The analysis before consulting the IOC Executive Committee:

In the so-called Olympic family, the mood has often turned overnight. The rules and mechanisms in this parallel society sometimes remain unfathomable - even on this nerdy blog. But one thing can be said to be certain: In times of crisis, the IOC crowd gathers around its shepherd. There are many great examples of this. It's always about saving the "movement". The decisions are becoming (even) more irrational.

And hardly anyone knows how to play the keyboard of the Olympic ideology and sensitivities better than Thomas Bach, the former industrial lobbyist, the puller, the FPD man from the gray area of ​​sport, business and politics, the friend of Vladimir Putin. Bach is the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and thus the shepherd of this bizarre people. Bach has that in his DNA.

A few hours after the McLaren report was published, just before the IOC leadership's conference call this lunchtime, all those family members who are in favor of excluding the Russian NOK from the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August are wondering how Thomas Bach takes the helm still want to pull around. Can he even do that or will he bow to the weight of the facts? The fact is: Bach is capable of anything. The fact that he still finds a loophole for Russia or at least large parts of the planned Olympic team would suit him more than that he should collectively punish his Russian comrades, who have helped lift him into office.

It is quite possible that on Thursday the CAS World Sports Court, whose president is another important Bach partisan, the Australian IOC Vice President John Coates, will decide in favor of the appeals of Russian athletes who were opposed to their Olympic ban by the IAAF weeks ago have fought. The same Coates, by the way, who once bribed two African IOC members with money the night before Sydney was elected Olympic city in 2000, well, yes. Sydney won 45:43 against Beijing.

This CAS is of course not really independent from the IOC, even if it is stated in the Olympic propaganda. Who knows that better than Bach? He was a CAS board member himself for a long time. In addition to the many tough demands from the sports world (such as the WADA board) to block the Russian NOK and at most - as the IAAF has drilled - to allow a few Russians to participate under a neutral flag after examining the individual cases, there are others, partially crude arguments.

For example, the Association of Summer Olympic Sports, called ASOIF. In a first statement, it was said that because McLaren could not prove systematic doping in 8 of 28 Olympic sports in Russia, one could not issue a collective ban. Absurd when the lines of command that lead to the Ministry of Sports and ultimately to the Kremlin are occupied. Stupid because McLaren expressly states that all the findings he and his team have compiled, especially the figures, are only minimum figures: at least 20 of 28 Olympic summer sports associations, at least six of seven Olympic winter sports associations, at least thousands of destroyed samples , at least 643 destroyed positive samples between 2012 and 2015 alone. At least one of Bach's stupid arguments has now been impressively refuted: In numerous interviews he had recently smugly remarked that a Russian badminton player could not be held responsible for fraud in Sochi.

Rarely laughed so much.

What Bach neglects in all of his speeches, however, is actually his very first duty as president of a billion-dollar global company: The fraud during the doping tests at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi is damaging the core business of the IOC group.

In the business world, as CEO of a multinational, Bach would have probably already been deposed.

The fraud is gigantic. The McLaren report presents breathtaking facts, although the investigation period was too short, although the investigators did not have most of the data sets, access was made difficult and it is of course basically almost impossible to uncover a fraud system covered by the secret service in a totalitarian state.

The family has seldom experienced a major crisis like this. In addition, there are other spectacular corruption cases, including in Rio, as well as criminal cases in world associations, not only in FIFA and the IAAF, with tough investigations by judicial bodies on all continents. Russia is not just anyone. Russia is, as Vladimir Putin has ensured since 2001, when he hosted an IOC General Assembly for the first time in Moscow, the most powerful sports nation of this decade. Thomas Bach praised Putin's corruption games in Sochi two years ago as a great success and as the “athletes' games”. Of course you could already know better back then, but Bach always cuddles with Putin and feels very comfortable around him.

Putin's sports armada of professional politicians and oligarchs, who control numerous world Olympic sports associations, also has numerous IOC members under control. Immediately before the publication of the investigation report by Richard McLaren, this was impressively demonstrated when Bach's Praetorians, all of whom are dependent on Russia, attacked all those doping educators and elected athletes' representatives, such as Beckie Scott from Canada and Claudia Bokel from Germany, who advocated drastic measures. And that is precisely why the Enlightenmentists will sleep more restlessly than the keepers of the status quo.

Does the Russian NOK take part in the Rio Games after all? There remains a minimal residual risk.

Enter Vladimir Putin

The Kremlin's statement on Monday, July 18, 2016:

Statement in response to the report by the World Anti-Doping Agency

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Recent events and the tense atmosphere that has formed around international sport and the Olympic movement involuntarily recall the situation in the early 1980s. Back then, many Western countries, citing the deployment of Soviet troops in Afghanistan, boycotted the Moscow Olympics. Four years later, the Soviet Union retaliated by boycotting the Los Angeles Olympics, using the pretext of an allegedly insufficient level of security for the Soviet team. The result was that many Soviet and American athletes and athletes from other countries were caught up in this campaign of reciprocal boycotts and lost the chance to add their names to world sporting history. Their years of long and hard effort and training were in vain. In short, people had their dreams broken and became hostages of political confrontation. The Olympic movement found itself in a serious crisis and faced divisions within. Later, some of the political figures of that era on both sides admitted that this had been a mistake.

Oh yes, the boycotts in 1980 and 1984. The fact that there were other boycotts, many of them even, is of course not mentioned, because it is only about insinuating a conspiracy by the Americans against the Russians. It still works for older IOC members, no question about it. It also works for Bach, because the German boycott, which prevented him from taking part in the Olympics for the second time in 1980 and which he fought against, shaped his later sport-political work. However, and this is where the propaganda approach consists: This boycott discussion has nothing at all to do with the thousand documented facts about the Russian state doping system.

Today, we see a dangerous return to this policy of letting politics interfere with sport. Yes, this intervention takes different forms today, but the essence remains the same; to make sport an instrument for geopolitical pressure and use it to form a negative image of countries and peoples. The Olympic movement, which is a tremendous force for uniting humanity, once again could find itself on the brink of division.

Putin hits the Olympic tone. He can do that as well as Bach. Unity, humanity, peace - a mockery from his mouth. During the 2014 Winter Games, the annexation of the Crimea was pushed ahead - to name just that. The biggest joke, of course, is that he advocates the separation of sport and politics. He even brought a UN resolution into play once before. Jeez

Today, so-called doping scandals ’are the method used, attempts to apply sanctions for detected cases of doping to all athletes, including those who are‘ clean ’, supposedly to protect their interests. But unlike in the 1980s, athletes undergo very strict and comprehensive anti-doping tests during competition and during the entire training process. Over the last 6 months, all Russian athletes have undergone anti-doping tests on WADA’s recommendations, with the tests overseen by the UK Anti-Doping Agency and other anti-doping laboratories abroad.

“So called scandals”, clean athletes who submit to controls. All of this has been taken ad absurdum in various research reports and numerous media revelations. The opposite has been proven.

The accusations against Russia’s athletes are based on information given by one single person, an individual with a notorious reputation. Criminal charges were opened against him in 2012 for violating anti-doping laws, but there was not enough evidence against him at that moment and the case was dropped. On June 17 this year, following his allegations of involvement in using banned substances and information from Russian athletes concerning extortion, a criminal case was reopened against him in connection with the new circumstances that had come to light. One of his close relatives, who used to work under his direction, has already been convicted in Russia for illegal trade in anabolic steroids. The question arises as to how much trust we can place in arguments based solely on the allegations of people of this kind, and how much weight can such allegations have.

Sure, Rodchenkov is a criminal and public enemy number one. Sure, the whistleblowers are traitors. McLaren was very clear about Rodchenkov's credibility. Putin is telling the wrong thing when he claims that the "allegations" are based only on testimony from one person.

The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and several anti-doping agencies in other countries, without waiting for the official publication of the World Anti-Doping Agency's commission, have hastened to demand that the entire Russian team be banned from taking part in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

To be honest, there is actually no such thing as an American sports policy. And the Americans can now forget the 2024 Olympic bid with Los Angeles, after the DOJ is taking apart FIFA and now Putin is the main conspirator in the USADA. Again: pure propaganda.

What is behind this haste? Is it an attempt to create the needed media atmosphere and apply pressure? We have the impression that the USADA experts had access to what is an unpublished report at the very least, and have set its tone and even its content themselves. If this is the case, one country’s national organization is again trying to dictate its will to the entire world sports community.

Propaganda. It is just a wrong track to be laid. This line of argument is greedily accepted by leading IOC officials. I have compiled numerous statements and facts in the previous two blog posts.

The officials named in the commission’s report as directly involved will be temporarily removed from their posts until a full investigation is complete. But to be able to make a final decision on these officials ’responsibility, we ask the WADA commission to provide fuller and more objective fact-based information so that Russia’s law enforcement and investigative agencies can use it in their investigation. We can guarantee that their work will be seen through to its conclusion and that all subsequent measures will be taken in full to prevent violation of Russian law and ensure that our country fulfills its international obligations.

I already mentioned that at the top: Putin (& Medvedev) appoint sports officials and put bureaucrats and cronies and oligarchs in the decisive positions in the sports system, many of whom do their jobs as soldiers. And if something is discovered, a few soldiers will be fired and, if necessary, put in jail. If you end like this, you're in luck, because two of the doping program's surprisingly, well, died in the past few months.

We have always taken the clear position that there is no place for doping in sport. It endangers athletes ’health and lives and discredits fair sporting competition. We are consistent in eliminating this scourge, improve our national laws in this area, and cooperate openly with the relevant international organizations and the International Olympic Committee. We are unfailing in meeting our obligations.

Without words.

Russia is well aware of the Olympic movement’s immense significance and constructive force, and shares in full the Olympic movement’s values ​​of mutual respect, solidarity, fairness, and the spirit of friendship and cooperation.


This is the only way to preserve the Olympic family’s unity and ensure international sport’s development in the interest of bringing peoples and cultures closer together. Russia is open to cooperation on achieving these noble goals.

It's about the UNITY. It works, as stupid as it sounds. Thomas Bach is a unity president, like his great role model Samaranch. What is behind this concept of “unity”, which worldview, which ideology, I have often tried to describe thoroughly.

Olympic Power Index - Russia clearly ahead in the world

In my IOC ebook "Power, money, puppets", available at a special price here in the shop, in 2014 I tried to create an Olympic Power Index on 575 pages with thousands of documents, statistics and graphics.

Number one worldwide in this mixture of hosting mega-events, positioning in Olympic governing bodies, sponsoring the world associations and hosting important conferences and electoral congresses - it is of course Russia.

To the reading sample: "Greetings from Moscow".

Vladimir Putin and Russia's Sports Policy

For the time being, some important passages to conclude - for example from this chapter from “Power. Monets, Marionettes ”- in which I try to outline important stages of the past sixteen Olympic years that go hand in hand with Putin's rule in Russia and his rise to become the most powerful player in world sport.

  • What is often forgotten, for example: Towards the end of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, after the blood drama Larissa Lasutina, Olga Danilowa (and Johann Mühlegg, who started for Spain) were exposed after the first WADA target controls, the Russian team wanted to boycott the games. Putin also weathered a lot at home, insulting the IOC, but finally gave in.
  • In the recent history of the IOC, Putin, the Soviet Union, whose collapse Putin describes as the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century”, and Russia have played a central role. The relationship of the Samaranch disciples to Russia is downright mystically transfigured. In 1980, Juan Antonio Samaranch was elected IOC President in the pillared hall of the House of the Trade Unions, where Lenin and Stalin were once laid out and the people marched past them. KP leader Leonid Brezhnev and Russia's sports bosses like Marat Gramov were grateful to Samaranch for the rest of their lives for fighting a boycott for Moscow and for campaigning for Spain to participate. In this hall of pillars, Samaranch passed power to Rogge 21 years later at a session that was under Putin's supervision. It was there that Thomas Bach and Sheikh Ahmad Al-Sabah apparently forged their agreement to take over power to Rogge - the Sheikh tells us.
  • Putin's first contact with the great Olympic sport was the Goodwill Games in St. Petersburg in 1994. The games that Ted Turner founded with the Soviet state and party leadership to counteract the boycotts in 1980 and 1984. The Goodwill Games were Putin's project as Deputy Mayor Anatoly Sobchak. Ted Turner has often described his first contact with Putin. Putin picked up Turner and then Jane Fonda (Turner) in 1993 on an inspection trip from the airport. It was the day on which Putin's then wife Ludmilla had a life-threatening car accident. Nevertheless, Putin did his job according to regulations and accompanied the Turners. At some point he told about the accident and Turner said that he should give up his duties and go to the hospital to take care of his wife, he could manage on his own. Years later, Putin reminded him of this and said he would never forget this gesture. The Goodwill Games were the prelude to a larger project. Putin then initiated St. Petersburg's Olympic bid for the 2004 Summer Games. The finances of both events and projects remain shrouded in legend to this day.
  • The role of the Russian secret service (Putin began as a KGB agent and temporarily headed the secret service in the late 1990s), today's FSB, which was centrally involved in the Sochi conspiracy, poses numerous key questions in the Olympic movement. One thesis is that there is a knowledge of domination that the Russians could play off against numerous high-ranking sports officials at any time. These are not just old stories - they go back to these days. Not only is Putin a KGB man, numerous top Russian officials are secret service employees and nomenclature cadres.
  • The topic last made headlines in the fall of 2009 when the historian Yuri Felschtinski and the former KGB officer Vladimir Popov claimed in the book “The KGB Plays Chess” that Samaranch was himself a KGB agent. The KGB helped organize the IOC votes for his election in Moscow in 1980. Samaranch won 44:21 against the Swiss Marc Hodler. The KGB extorted Samaranch's cooperation after the ambassador was caught smuggling antiques, jewelry and paintings. Samaranch was listed as a Soviet sports general, claimed Popov, who fled to Canada in 1996. For the IOC it was all just speculation. Samaranch's predecessor Lord Killanin once said: “I was of the firm belief that the post of IOC President should not be for sale. There is a growing tendency, and there are many rumors, of stealing posts by showing favors. ”We know that the KGB entered into a cooperation with the Stasi to spy out sports associations, Adidas and ISL. We don't know what the KGB files have to say about it. We don't know whether Putin was ever interested in it when he was head of the FSB or later. I don't want to overstate this, but a key to understanding the special relationship and influence of Vladimir Putin in the IOC business could well be dormant in archives. Samaranch, allegedly seriously ill at the time, did not want to come to Guatemala in July 2017 for the IOC vote on the 2014 Winter Games. Then he suddenly appeared after all, flown over by the Russians, who were afraid for Sochi, looked after by Vitaly Smirnov. Samaranch was next to Putin, who went to the IOC in the Bütt, Sochi's greatest trump card.

New: book an Olympic pass! Fund research.

This post, yesterday's live blog and the previous text with exclusive material are already part of my pre-Olympic coverage. Some contributions and supplements will now disappear behind a modest paywall.

I will be blogging from August 1st to 21st, hopefully in the old freshness and the best tradition, in this theater close to 24/7 from Rio de Janeiro - like for many other major events and during many other trips.

I think that's just the right, difficult-to-understand crisis atmosphere for such a project.

There is no lack of ideas and desire, I am quartered in a magical Olympic triangle between the IOC Hotel, the Deutsches Haus and the Olympic Park in Barra da Tijuca, I will ride a lot there, watch the Olympic bosses and even look forward to the traditional live Blog from the opening ceremony in the João Havelange Stadium and colleagues G next to me. The Olympic spirit must decide whether the strength is sufficient.

Feel free to pass it on.