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 Russia on November 13-16.

Nearly one third of the respondents – 31 percent – are of the view that some of Russian athletes might have used doping, but “this was not that widespread,” 9 percent believe the accusations may well be substantiated, and 20 percent view them as quite trustworthy.

Another 16 percent of the respondents were undecided.

The poll showed that 73 percent of the respondents believe that using banned drugs to help Russian athletes enhance their performance and win at international competitions is unacceptable, 14 percent consider it quite acceptable, and 13 percent are undecided.

More than half of those polled (51 percent) stated that Russian athletes use prohibited drugs just as often as athletes from other countries, 27 percent believe Russian athletes use doping more rarely and 4 percent more often than their foreign opponents. Another 18% were undecided.

Asked how the doping scandal may affect the Russian national teams’ participation in the 2016 Olympic Games, 42 percent see it as likely that the team may be barred from the games, 44 percent rule out this scenario, and 14 percent are undecided.