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Kremlin Keeps Cool After Russia’s Olympic Doping Ban

Denis Balibouse / Reuters

The Kremlin has said it will "seriously analyze" the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) decision to bar Russia's team from the Winter Games in South Korea next year.

Tuesday's ban means that Russian athletes will only be allowed to compete in neutral uniforms, and Russia's national anthem and flag will also be absent. The move comes as a blow to Russian athletes and many officials have said they want to boycott the Pyeongchang Games altogether.

But Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that the decision must be considered with a cool head.

“We need to forget emotions and seriously analyze the decision that the IOC has made regarding our country before making any judgments on the matter," Peskov was cited as saying by the state-run TASS news agency.

Peskov told reporters that Russia intends to maintain an open dialogue with the IOC regarding the decision as there are still questions and technical points that need to be clarified.

The IOC on Tuesday also handed a lifetime ban to former Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, who presided over Russia’s state-sanctioned doping scheme during the 2014 Sochi Games in Russia. Several other officials have been suspended as well.

Peskov emphasized that the interests of sports officials will take a back seat to the those of individual athletes.

“The priority is to protect the interests of our Russian athletes,” he said. “We must concentrate all our efforts on protecting them, and everything else will be considered after.”

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