On February 20, during his message to the Federal Assembly, Russian president Vladimir Putin devoted most of the time to internal state problems, however the international context was not disregarded. As for the internal Russian developments, we won’t deepen into the words of the Russian leader. After all, that is Russians themselves, who should deal with it. We may only notice that, notwithstanding Putin mentioned deteriorations by some indices, his report based generally on quite optimistic statistical figures. Let’s set aside the fact that the parallels for some reason were drawn with early 2000s, instead of the third presidential term (2012-2018) when oil was more expensive and sanctions have not exerted the real effect yet. Well, that is business of Russians themselves and their elite.

We are much more interested in a foreign policy part of Russian president’s message. The first to mention is a big attention to the new Russian arms. It seems that specification of new “Kinzhals” and “Neptunes”, “Zircons” and “Peresvets” sparked particular interest of the Russian leader, and was pronounced with special aspiration. However, the main message of the speech was that it is the US and not Russia who used to infringe the INF Treaty, and Russian armament is response to aggressive actions of Americans. That was covered with the most peaceful statements:

“We are not interested in confrontation and we do not mean it, especially with such global power as the United States of America… We realise that we deal with active, very talented people, however a lot of those from ruling class are excessively keen on the idea of their uniqueness and superiority over the rest of the world”.

At the same time the Russian leader snatched an opportunity to hint that rockets would be directed at the decision-making centres, that is Washington and Brussels. Actually, Putin resorted for the first time to threats against the USA. He did not lay aside the European countries in his threats as well. First of all, he meant Poland and Romania where elements of missile defence system are placed and where the US rockets may appear.

“I will speak frankly and overtly to make everything clear: Russia will be forced to create and place such types of arms which will be able to reach not only the territories which pose the threat to us, but also those which make the relevant decisions. We are going to implement it as soon as threats become real”.

Well, such rhetoric has nothing in common with the olive branch of peace. However, we should be aware that, regardless of all threats to the USA and NATO, primarily they are aimed at internal audience. Actually, most of the Russian high rank officials who listened to President’s speech and fought against sleep possess the real estate and have their families living in these states.

In his statements, the Russian leader tried to remind once again the ordinary Russians that Russia is surrounded by enemies. However, Russia is able to react and for this purpose Russians should line up for the strong leader. Well, such anti-Western rhetoric becomes less effective day by day. This message was meant by the Kremlin political strategists to raise Putin’s rating (according to the Russian sociologists, current level of credibility to the President is about 33,4%, being the lowest since 2006). Sure enough, sober-minded Russian would have to think that spending money for building school infrastructure is much more efficient than spending them for rockets. Actually, the President himself found unexpectedly at the 20th year of his ruling that 200.000 students study in unheated premises without water supply and canalization. That is in energy superpower, by the way! Still crisis phenomena in the Russian economy increase; therefore, there is no question of improvement of Russians’ welfare.

To reiterate, the probability of the Russian aggression against NATO member states is extremely low. Well, it is not impossible, but insignificant. Besides it, the most part of samples of the latest Russian arms mentioned by Putin are still at a development stage. That means the Russian government shall be realistic in such estimates of possible outcomes of confrontation with the USA, therefore such bravado seems to be rather information noise and blowing of cheeks.

Further self-isolation of Russia from the world is probable. New “Iron Curtain” gradually falls on the state. Currently Russians consider the possibility of creation of their own, autonomous Internet. Access to information from independent sources shall be blocked. Still these measures are inefficient; however, that is only the beginning. Further, the situation will only be aggravated: Russians will live gradually worse, yet they will not know that the other life is possible. Well, they will have powerful rockets. We can make already some parallels. One such state exists on our planet: it occupies a northern part of the Korean peninsula…

And the last but not least. President Putin in his speech told a witty joke as it appears to him about the US and NATO allies who are “oinking along with”. Well, it seems that it would be Russians themselves who will oink, since they are purposefully turned into a herd of pigs.

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No doubt, the Olympic Games are one of the most tremendous and well-known sport events in the world. Nevertheless, the doping scandal of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics have damaged the reputation of these competitions. It clearly showed that sport is the tool of global policy for Russia.

The results of WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) investigation confirmed the facts of substitution of Russian sportsmen’s doping tests. It proves that they used controlled drugs during preparations to the Olympic Games. The special report, done by Canadian professor of law Richard McLaren, contains the full scheme of doping test substitutions and the facts that sportsmen were forced to take banned drugs by their coaches and officials of Russian Olympic Committee. It was also proved that officials of Russian Olympic Committee and Ministry of Sport of Russian Federation tried to avoid the investigation of WADA and even more – there were facts of tampering evidences of doping test. Another significant issue is the activity of Russian security services, the officials of which put pressure on Russian sportsmen and their coaches to tamper the evidences of doping tests substitutions and numerous facts of its illegal usage.

Why is the topic of doping scandal-2014 still actual?

In 2014, Russia breached the basic principles of the Olympic Games – integrity and similar opportunities for all sportsmen-participants with no regard to their nationality or flag. Being the country-resident of the 2014 Winter Olympics Russia tried to boost its prestige using the sport goals, achieved in wrong way and violated the basis of international sport challenges. It caused the forfeit of Russian sportsmen awards and life ban for use of drugs for most of them.

The issue of increasing international prestige with sport achievements is also the instrument to maintain the internal stability of Russia. The USA and EU sanctions make Russian economy weaken and it directly affects the life of average Russian citizens. Now the government ordered sportsmen to get the maximum number of Olympic awards in Tokyo, 2020. Kremlin figures that the sport triumph can increase the belief in “glory of Russia”. Russian government is sure that the end justifies the means.

That is why international sport community should undertake some important measures – simply to prevent another doping tests substitutions before the 2020 Olympic Games get started.

After the evaluation of doping tests substitutions done by RUSADA (Russian Anti-Doping Agency) and the numerous facts of using dope by Russian sportsmen, the reputation of agency was completely lost. To except the possibility of further substitutions during the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, WADA should take all doping tests under its control, so it ought to do all analyses and tests of Russian sportsmen.

It is worth mentioning that sportsmen in Russia are just tools of state policy and most cases of doping were connected with rough psychological pressure (including direct threats to ruin sport career of particular participant), done by coaches and officials. That is why the IOC must select the laboratory, which can check all the Olympic Games participants. If Russia rejects these requirements, it means that Russia rejects to take part in the 2020 Olympic Games.

Doping, any type of threats to make sportsmen use it and participation in the Olympic Games are just mutually exclusive events.

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