INTERVIEW: “The weekend’s protests were the Russian people's, not the opposition’s” – Maxim Reznik
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Russia OUTLOOK 2021
@russian_market sacked by UBS for supporting Navalny
Elbrus Capital attracts major international players to invest in the Russian digital sphere
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VISEGRAD BLOG: Central Europe's populists need a new strategy for Biden
LONG READ: The oligarch problem
OUTLOOK 2021 Lithuania
Czech billionaire Kellner´s PPF makes another bid for Moneta Money Bank
Czech MPs pass protectionist food law in violation of EU rules
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COVID-19 and Trump’s indifference helped human rights abusers in 2020
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Polish industrial production continues boom in December
OUTLOOK 2021 Poland
OUTLOOK 2021 Slovakia
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Albania needs reforms for e-commerce to thrive, says World Bank
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Bulgaria’s latest nuclear u-turn
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OUTLOOK 2021 Moldova
Storming parliaments: New Europe's greatest hits
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Romanian cybersecurity company Safetech floats shares amid rising investor interest
Romania government to pursue “ambitious” timetable for justice reforms
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Slovenia lost €10bn by neglecting wood industry for decades
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CAUCASUS BLOG : What can Biden offer the Caucasus and Stans, all but forgotten about by Trump?
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OUTLOOK 2021 Azerbaijan
OUTLOOK 2021 Georgia
“Try me” not telecoms minister Iran’s president tells hardliners in internet row
Iran’s President Khamenei menaces private citizen Trump
Iran’s technology minister indicted for failing to properly implement internet censorship
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COMMENT: Mongolia is an island of democracy
OUTLOOK 2021 Mongolia
Mongolia's PM quits amid protests over treatment of mother with coronavirus and newborn baby
Mongolia's winter dzud set to be one of most extreme on record says Red Cross
Tajikistan: Writing for the president is on the wall (and then scrubbed off)
OUTLOOK 2021 Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan: How the Grinch stole New Year
COMMENT: Uzbekistan is being transformed, but where are the democratic reforms?
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The Kremlin supported by national sports authorities has brushed aside "groundless" allegations of a mass doping scam involving Russian athletes after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) recommended Russia be barred from international competitions, including the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
"Whenever any charges are made there must be some evidence they rely on," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on November 10 in response to the agency's claims of malpractice made public a day earlier. "As long as there has been no proof, it is hard to react to any accusations, which look rather groundless," TASS news agency quoted Peskov as saying.
The spokesman said he had nothing to add to the stance of the Russian Sports Ministry, which has said that Russia is open to co-operation with anti-doping chiefs to eliminate "any" irregularities from its testing regime.
Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has told the Rossiya-24 news channel that half of the problems mentioned in the WADA report regarding the Moscow anti-doping laboratory were correctible, while the other half lacked proof.
And the head of Russia's anti-doping agency RUSADA, Nikita Kamayev, said his authority has rather been at the forefront of efforts to stamp out doping in sport. "RUSADA has more than anyone in the world used sanctions against the violators," Kamayev told TASS. He also scoffed at the agency's claim that Russia's FSB domestic intelligence service had a hand in falsifying test results or had pressured sports testers to doctor them.
"Anyone who believes this is hopelessly bogged down in the early days of the James Bond saga," the official said.
The reactions came a day after a damning report commissioned by the WADA exposed what it termed "state-supported" doping. The agency claimed in the 350-page document that Russian laboratory testers altered doping test results during the 2012 London Olympics, and that FSB agents tampered with tests during the 2014 Winter Olympics held in the Russian resort of Sochi.
WADA recommended that five athletes and five coaches be banned for life, with the agency's chairman Dick Pound recommending that certain categories of Russian athletes be banned from next year's Olympics in Rio di Janeiro.
"One of our hopes is they will volunteer to take the remedial work," Pound said. "If they don't the outcome may be no Russian track and field athletes in Rio. I hope they recognise it is time to change," the official told a press conference on November 9.
According to the WADA report, Russia used an obscure laboratory to hide doping activities, and the London Olympics were "sabotaged" by the participation of athletes who should have been banned.
The investigating commission also claims the Russian Sports Ministry issued direct orders to "manipulate particular samples" and knew about agents from the FSB interfering with laboratory work in Sochi.
The report further accuses Moscow testing laboratory director Grigory Rodchenkov of ordering the destruction of 1,417 doping control samples before the inquiry started. Rodchenkov is seen at the centre of a "conspiracy to extort money from athletes in order to cover up positive doping test results", the document said.
The scandal comes in parallel to renewed objections to the decision to award Russia the 2018 soccer World Cup championship. The global soccer federation Fifa has been rocked by accusations of bribery in the host country selection process for the 2018 edition and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The uproar was compounded by a recent interview with TASS by the currently suspended Fifa chief Sepp Blatter, who said the decision to award Russia the event in 2018 was taken before voting on the choice of host country.
Jason Corcoran in Moscow - Russian banks are disappearing at the fastest rate ever as the country's deepening recession makes it easier for the central bank to expose money laundering, dodgy lending ... more
Jason Corcoran in Moscow - Revelations and mysticism may have been the stock-in-trade of Nikolai Tsvetkov’s management style, but ultimately they didn’t help him to hold on to his ... more
bne IntelliNews -
Russia has classified details of its assets held abroad to prevent their seizure ... more
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