NEWSWATCH: “Russia Hopes for Swift End to Track and Field Doping Exile” – AP

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

“… Russian track and field exists in limbo, banned since November 2015 as a series of investigations revealed widespread doping and alleged government officials helped to cover it up. … On Monday, track’s world governing body, the IAAF, will hold a council meeting with the stated aim of drawing up a road map for Russia’s return though, in some ways, […]

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RBTH: Over 1,000 Russian athletes involved in doping scandal – McLaren report

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

In a more detailed version of the report released in July, the head of the independent WADA commission has announced that the international doping scandal implicates over 1,000 Russian athletes, and has repeated accusations of state involvement. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEY MOSKO, RBTH – December 12, 2016) The publication of the long-awaited second part of the […]

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A Long Jump: Russia Claims Moral Victory From Rio Olympics

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, August 22, 2016) Russia’s medal haul at the Summer Olympics in Rio was the country’s smallest since the 1912 games in Stockholm, but that did not deter various officials and pundits from spinning the result as a victory for Moscow — or a moral one, at the least. With much of its […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why Russia’s Olympic scandals could benefit Vladimir Putin” – Yahoo

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

If you think the Russian doping scandal has brought shame and humiliation to Vladimir Putin’s nation, perhaps you need to think again. Experts on Putin and Russia tell Yahoo Sports it may be the opposite: that the doping allegations and the Paralympic ban actually has confirmed suspicions widely held – the rest of the world is unfairly biased against Russia. […]

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Will Putin Again Use the Olympics as Cover for New Aggression, This Time in Ukraine?

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

(Paul Goble – Staunton, August 8, 2016) Eight years ago today, when the world was focusing on the Olympics in Beijing, Vladimir Putin used this distraction as the occasion to launch his invasion of Georgia. Now, there are both indications and fears that he may use the world’s focus on the Olympiad in Rio to reignite Russian aggression in Ukraine. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Ban Russia From the Rio Olympics” – New York Times

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

The latest and most comprehensive report on Russia’s cheating at the 2014 Winter Olympics gives the International Olympic Committee all the evidence it needs to ban every Russian team from the forthcoming Rio Games. The report, commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency to investigate a fast-growing body of evidence against Russia, is damning and unequivocal. … it affirms ‘beyond a […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Bar Russia from the Rio Olympics” – Washington Post

File Photo of Sochi Olympics Banner Near Highway in Warm Weather with Vehicle and Cyclicsts Nearby

At the Winter Olympics in Sochi … no Russian athletes tested positive for doping, and to much celebration they took home 33 medals, more than any other nation. … behind the scenes, a system was in place that concealed the use of performance-enhancing drugs by … Russian athletes. … doping and coverups have been carried out by Russia across a range […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Statement in response to the report by the World Anti-Doping Agency

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

(Kremlin.ru – July 18, 2016) 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 […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Doping Scandal. A new report finds that Olympic cheating was state policy.” – Wall Street Journal editorial

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

Less than three weeks before the Summer Olympics in Rio … an independent probe … produced the most damning evidence to date of a vast, state-sponsored #doping program run by #Russia’s sports officials that included corrupting the testing lab at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. … the report sets up a choice as delicate as it is momentous: whether to ban […]

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Kremlin: Russia Will Not Boycott Rio Olympics

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 11, 2016) Russia will not boycott the upcoming Olympic Games in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday, Russian media reported. Peskov said that “Russia has always looked down on [Olympic] boycotts,” the Gazeta news website reported Monday. He promised to use “all possible mechanisms” to ensure the participation of Russian […]

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All Russians Are Tainted by Putin’s Regime

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – June 21, 2016) The International Olympic Committee’s decision to let Russian athletes compete in the Rio Olympics if they can prove that they haven’t used performance-enhancing drugs won’t be popular with other countries. Nonetheless, it was the right call. But it also carries some unpleasant undertones: It formally requires Russians to prove that […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Olympic Ban Adds to Russia’s Culture of Grievances” – New York Times

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

When a global governing body for sports barred Russia’s track and field team from the 2016 Summer Olympics on Friday over a wide-ranging doping scandal, it was greeted in Russia, as is so often the case here these days, with a deep sense of victimhood. …Putin …called the decision ‘unjust, of course.’ …. Click here for New York Times: Olympic […]

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Interfax: Putin promises fight against doping at state level

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

ST. PETERSBURG. June 17 (Interfax) – Russia will fight against doping in sports at the state level, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “As for the official Russian authorities, I can say with full responsibility, that we are firmly against any doping,” Putin said at a plenary session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). He said if it emerges […]

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Banned Russian Runners Struggle to Keep Their Careers Afloat

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – June 11, 2016) His first international race, the Kanazawa marathon was a special occasion for Viktor Ugarov, 30. Thousands of amateur Japanese runners took part, but none, in the end, provided serious competition for the runner from Irkutsk. Ugarov, who a year earlier had finished fifth in the Russian Championship, ended up […]

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Anti-doping rule breakers will be harshly punished – Mutko

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

MOSCOW. June 9 (Interfax) – The harshest measures will be taken against those who were caught violating anti-doping rules, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said. “If this is established, naturally, we will take the harshest measures against every person. All our correspondence will be examined, and even if anyone participated in this scheme with him [Grigory Rodchenkov, former head of […]

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Interfax: Russia won’t put up with unsubstantiated slander against it on issue of doping in sports – Peskov

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

MOSCOW. June 8 (Interfax) – Russia is against the use of doping in sports, but that does not mean that it is ready to put up with unsubstantiated slander against it on this issue, Russian presidential press officer Dmitry Peskov said. “We all remember that the Russian president has given an absolutely clear signal that the use of any types […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s reported doping is a subversion of the Olympic ideal” – Washington Post

… The latest evidence is a detailed report in the New York Times that Russian officials clandestinely carried out a doping program at the Sochi Games by giving athletes performance-enhancing drugs and then tampering with their urine samples to cover it up. The … account comes from the director of the Russian anti-doping agency at the time, who played a […]

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Interfax: Mutko believes in rebirth of Russian track and field athletics

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

MOSCOW. May 20 (Interfax) – After the restoration of its rights, Russian track and field athletics should start with “a clean slate,” Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told Interfax. “The majority of the disqualifications happened in track and field athletics and we will immediately set everything right and, I believe, start with a clean slate. At this stage, if everything […]

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RBTH: Olympic doping scandal: Whistleblower Rodchenkov may face court in Russia

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

Grigory Rodchenkov’s exposure of Russian Olympic champions’ use of doping contains many unsubstantiated accusations and few facts, say Russian officials and experts. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEY MOSKO, RBTH – May 16, 2016) Criminal proceedings may be launched against former head of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory Grigory Rodchenkov, the man who revealed to The New York Times […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Revelations of State-Backed Doping Should Bar Russia From Rio Olympics” – New York Times/JULIET MACUR

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

Accusations of Russian doping and reported claims of systematic distribution of performance-enhancing drugs and of bribes paid to cover up positive tests would be enough to scare off officials of any event worried about safeguarding its credibility. … you have to wonder what officials from the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Olympic Committee are thinking now, in light of […]

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WADA banned meldonium without studying period of its withdrawal from athletes’ blood – Mutko

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

MOSCOW. March 22 (Interfax) – Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has said that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) did not publish the results of research on meldonium before banning this substance. “It is necessary to thoroughly examine the problems of this substance’s [meldonium] withdrawal and retention in blood. We have received a reply from WADA that they did not do […]

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Interfax: Putin requests not to promote ‘conspiracy theory’ regarding doping scandal

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

(Interfax – March 16, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on the chiefs of the Russian sports to refrain from politicizing the situation related to the meldonium use and from framing a ‘conspiracy theory’ with regard to Russian athletes. “Firstly, nothing should be politicized and no conspiracy theory should be promoted,” Putin said at his meeting with government members, […]

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Who’s to blame for the meldonium: Russia’s athletes, doctors or officials?

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

The drug that has been banned since January 2016 may lead to the disqualification of several leading Russian athletes in the wake of the Maria Sharapova scandal. However, Russian officials and athletics insiders disagree on who should take responsibility for the latest doping debacle to engulf Russian sports. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – TIMUR GANEEV, SPECIAL TO RBTH […]

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Interfax: Moscow expects explanations from WADA on meldonium ban – Lavrov

Sergei Lavrov file photo

MOSCOW. March 10 (Interfax) – Russia expects explanations from the World Anti-Doping Agency, or WADA, following the inclusion of meldonium drugs in the list of banned medicines, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said. “I don’t want to gibe, I only want to say in all seriousness: those professional opinions about the justifiability of this step of the WADA that […]

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Interfax: Mutko anticipating rivalry between Russian and US athletes at Olympic Games

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

(Interfax – January 19, 2016) The Summer Olympic Games cannot be imagined without a rivalry between Russian and American track and field athletes, Russia’s Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said. “Track and field athletics is the queen of sport. [Athletes] will compete for 47 medals [at the Olympic Games]. I will also say that I cannot imagine any tournament without a […]

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Quarter of Russians view doping charges against athletes as groundless

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Interfax – November 21, 2015) One quarter of Russians – 25 percent – believe the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) charges against Russian track-and-field athletes are groundless and can be explained by hostile attitudes toward Russia in general, the Levada Center public opinion foundation told Interfax after conducting a poll of 1,600 respondents in 134 populated areas in 46 regions of […]

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Moscow Times: Medvedev: In 2014, Crimean Annexation, Sochi Olympics Outshone Grim Economic Situation

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – December 11, 2014) Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev struck an optimistic note throughout a 1 1/2-hour news conference Wednesday, drawing attention to what he viewed as Russia’s crowning achievements of this year: the Sochi Olympic victory and the annexation of Crimea. Medvedev spoke about a wide array of issues, from the economy to […]

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Sochi: Come in, sit down, have a drink! – Russia Beyond the Headlines

Sochi 2014

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Andy Potts, special to RBTH – February 19, 2014) The friendly atmosphere and general lack of restrictions on what spectators can take into the venues at Sochi make a refreshing contrast to the usual experience at sporting events in Russia. At first glance, the sight of a sports fan sitting in an arena […]

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Moscow Ready for Olympic Tourists. And Still Waiting

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – February 14, 2014) The Olympic Games seemed a golden opportunity for the Moscow tourism industry, with the majority of tourists bound to pause in the capital on their way to Sochi. But the city has not been deluged with Olympic visitors. Those few who have stopped in Moscow have been quick to […]

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RIA Novosti: Post-Olympic Spending in Sochi to Rise to $7 Billion – Report

File Photo of Sochi Olympics Banner Near Highway in Warm Weather with Vehicle and Cyclicsts Nearby

MOSCOW, February 13 (RIA Novosti) – Russia may have to spend up to $7 billion over the next three years to maintain infrastructure and venues around the Olympic host city of Sochi, Bloomberg news agency reported Thursday. Bloomberg cited unnamed planning officials as saying the government is not yet sure of the final bill for the Olympics partly because plans […]

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Ex-Olympian Rodnina Apologizes For Racist Twitter Picture

File Photo of Sochi Olympics Banner Near Highway in Warm Weather with Vehicle and Cyclicsts Nearby

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – February 11, 2014) Irina Rodnina, the famed figure skater who lit the Olympic flame at the Sochi opening ceremony, has said that a racially insensitive tweet sent from her account and featuring U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle was posted by hackers. The doctored – and, in the eyes of […]

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Interfax: Show during Sochi Olympics opening ceremony designed as story about Russia – author

Sochi 2014

MOSCOW. Feb 8 (Interfax) – Konstantin Ernst, author of the script for Friday’s opening ceremony for the Sochi Winter Olympics, said the main idea of the show that was part of the ceremony was to retell Russian history in a modern language. “The language of a stadium means three-dimensional and vivid images and quite direct metaphors. On that basis, we […]

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Rain or Shine, Putin Takes the Blame

File Photo of Sochi Olympics Banner Near Highway in Warm Weather with Vehicle and Cyclicsts Nearby

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – SOCHI – January 28, 2014) It has been raining in Sochi for two weeks. The rain isn’t expected to disrupt the Winter Olympics, which open Feb. 7 on the snow-covered mountains looming over this subtropical Black Sea resort. But the rain is the subject of urban legend. Both good and bad weather […]

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Ahead of Olympics, Russians Urged to Help Prevent Attacks

File Photo of Sochi Olympics Banner Near Highway in Warm Weather with Vehicle and Cyclicsts Nearby

(Moscow Times – moscowtimes.com – January 14, 2014) Less than a month before the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russian investigators appealed to civilians on Tuesday to be more vigilant and help avert the threat of “terrorist” attacks. Insurgents who want to create an Islamist state in the North Caucasus mountains have threatened to attack the Games, and suicide bombers killed […]

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U.S. Private Security Firm On Standby in Case of Emergency During Olympics

File Photo of Sochi Olympics Banner Near Highway in Warm Weather with Vehicle and Cyclicsts Nearby

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 9, 2014) A U.S. crisis-response firm will have five aircraft on standby during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi in the event that an emergency requires an evacuation. The private Global Rescue firm, which had announced in November that it would assist the U.S. ski and snowboard teams during the Olympics, will stand by […]

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Mitt Romney Says Sochi Games Likely to Be Safe

File Photo of Sochi Olympics Banner Near Highway in Warm Weather with Vehicle and Cyclicsts Nearby

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 6, 2014) Former U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Russia should not have been chosen to host the Olympics considering its role in global politics but the upcoming games in Sochi are likely to be as safe as any other. Romney, who led the Winter Games in Salt Lake City in 2002, told Fox […]

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Putin’s Caucasian Games

File Photo of Sochi Olympics Banner Near Highway in Warm Weather with Vehicle and Cyclicsts Nearby

(Bloomberg editorial – Bloomberg.com – January 3, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin clearly intends next month’s Winter Olympics in Sochi as a showcase for the country’s re-emergence as a global power. Given his recent diplomatic coups in Syria and Ukraine, maybe he thinks that he has plenty to show off. Yet this week’s twin suicide bombings in Volgograd, which killed […]

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50 Days Before Games, Main Sochi Stadium Still Not Open

File Photo of Sochi Olympics Banner Near Highway in Warm Weather with Vehicle and Cyclicsts Nearby

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – December 26, 2013) With Sochi quickly becoming a focus of world attention as the finish line for preparations approaches for the Winter Games, the venue that will host the opening ceremony of Russia’s largest international event in decades has still not been officially opened for use. Fisht Olympic Stadium, which will host […]

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U.S. Ambassador Says No Boycott Of Sochi

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – December 17, 2013) U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul has spoken of the current state of bilateral relations, the upcoming Sochi Olympics, and the ongoing crisis in Ukraine in a wide-ranging, exclusive interview with RFE/RL’s Russian Service. McFaul, speaking at RFE/RL’s Moscow Bureau, quashed rumors of a possible U.S. boycott of the Winter Olympics. He confirmed […]

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RIA Novosti: Obama to Skip Sochi Games in Apparent Snub Over Anti-Gay Law

File Photo of Sochi Olympics Banner Near Highway in Warm Weather with Vehicle and Cyclicsts Nearby

MOSCOW, December 18 (RIA Novosti) ­ US President Barack Obama dealt a sharp reprimand to Russia over its anti-gay laws on Tuesday by including two openly homosexual athletes in the official delegation to the Winter Olympics in Sochi and declining to attend the Games himself. The White House announced that Billie Jean King, a gay former tennis champion, and Caitlin […]

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Is Putin to Blame for Pre-Sochi Crackdown – or Not?

File Photo of Sochi Olympics Banner Near Highway in Warm Weather with Vehicle and Cyclicsts Nearby

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, December 16, 2013) Whenever something bad happens in Russia, the last refuge of  pro-regime commentators is to suggest that the ruler isn’t in charge and that underlings are to blame: the man in the Kremlin can thus continue to be given credit for anything good that happens but not be held responsible […]

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Putin Visits Still-Unfinished Olympic Stadium

File Photo of Sochi Olympics Banner Near Highway in Warm Weather with Vehicle and Cyclicsts Nearby

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – December 2, 2013) President Vladimir Putin visited Sochi’s main Olympic stadium near the Black Sea coast on Friday only to see construction workers and equipment still spread around the venue, which is still unfinished just more than two months before it will host the opening ceremony of the Winter Games. Originally supposed […]

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Documentary Highlights Corruption in Sochi Construction

File Photo of Sochi Olympics Banner Near Highway in Warm Weather with Vehicle and Cyclicsts Nearby

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – November 25, 2013) A documentary about extortion and threats surrounding the construction of the Sochi Olympic Village is slated to premiere in Moscow next month, despite what its producer said were attempts to bribe her into canceling a screening at a European film festival this week. The film, titled “Putin’s Games,” features […]

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Sochi Olympics will be Instagram-friendly

File Photo of Sochi Olympics Banner Near Highway in Warm Weather with Vehicle and Cyclicsts Nearby

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexey Mosko, RBTH – November 20, 2013) Contrary to previous media reports, journalists at the Sochi Games will be allowed to use mobile phones to photograph sportspeople and spectators during the Olympics. Journalists at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi will be able to take photographs and shoot videos for their own personal […]

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Interfax: Moscow perplexed with U.S. demands for review of IOC opinion on Russian gay propaganda law

File Photo of Sochi Olympics Banner Near Highway in Warm Weather with Vehicle and Cyclicsts Nearby

(Interfax – November 15, 2013) Moscow has called outrageous the U.S. senators’ demand that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) review its opinion on the Russian law banning homosexuality propaganda amongst minors. “We have paid attention to the letter sent by eleven U.S. senators to the International Olympic Committee president and their demand to review the official opinion of the IOC […]

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