Foreign Press Review (18.07-24.07)

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On Sunday, July 24, the International Olympic Committee Executive Board (IOC EB) decided not to ban the entire Russian team from Rio despite World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) calls. In its statement, IOC EB said that «all Russian athletes seeking entry to the Olympic Games Rio 2016 are considered to be affected by a system subverting and manipulating the anti-doping system» and, therefore, «Russian athletes in any of the 28 Olympic summer sports have to assume the consequences of what amounts to a collective responsibility in order to protect the credibility of the Olympic competitions, and the “presumption of innocence” cannot be applied to them. On the other hand, according to the rules of natural justice, individual justice, to which every human being is entitled, has to be applied. This means that each affected athlete must be given the opportunity to rebut the applicability of collective responsibility in his or her individual case». Although Russian officials have numerously asserted that collective responsibility is unacceptable in the modern world, they have guaranteed Russia’s «full cooperation with all international organisations» and its commitment «to a complete and comprehensive restructuring of the Russian anti-doping system» and «clean sport». Moreover, «all Russian athletes selected for the Olympic Games Rio 2016 have been tested over the last six months by foreign anti-doping agencies». Besides, Russian president Vladimir Putin has announced the establishment of a new independent anti-doping commission aimed at the absolute eradication of performance-enhancing drugs from sport and has one more time emphasized that there is no place for doping in sport.

Generally Russia has welcomed IOC EB’s decision as it left Russian athletes possibility to compete in the Olympics under their national flag. However, it is obvious that the whole case raises questions about selective use of law when only Russia has been targeted. The pressure in the western media on the IOC has been unprecedented when leading outlets have tried to convince the public about egregiousness of the accusations and called for a total ban while in fact the McLaren report is based mostly on the words of Mr Rodchenkov and any hard evidence was not presented openly with headlines like «IOC humiliates Vladimir Putin…» in respectable newspapers cast doubt on the rectitude of motives of some journalists. Meanwhile, for example, a runner from the US, who has already been caught on doping twice, is not forced to prove he is doping-free now and will participate in Rio on equal conditions with drug-free past athletes, whereas Russian clean track and field athletes are totally barred from the Olympics.

The doping scandal overshadowed all other events last week. However, the «Russian trace» was also found in the Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Some democrats blamed the Kremlin for helping Trump to be elected with the media calling him «the Kremlin’s candidate» and even «a Putin’s lapdog». The billionaire was said to be advancing the «Russian agenda» by challenging the Republicans’ anti-Russian stance on Ukraine and setting the conditions for NATO members to be defended by the US under attack. Calling Trump a populist, journalists seem to close their eyes to their own shifting to populism and pinning labels on people who disagree with the mainstream opinion.

As for the Syrian conflict, Russia and the US are preparing for taking concrete steps on the track, which was discussed during the Moscow talks. And intelligence sharing is to help to prevent in the future situations like that reported in the Wall Street Journal last week when Russian Air Forces were accused of targeting the At-Tanf garrison camp near the Jordan border, which was used by the US and UK commandos. The Russia’s Defense Ministry emphasized that it had been calling on the Western partners for a long time to provide the locations of the so-called «moderate opposition» and start joint actions against terrorists in Syria.

Doping scandal

WADA recommends banning Russia from Olympics after investigation reveals far-reaching doping program

By Will Hobson

The Washington Post


The global agency that polices drug cheating in sports called for banning all Russian athletes from the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro next month after an investigative report released Monday found “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the Russian government ran a widespread doping system for years in multiple Olympic sports.

Why Putin Won’t Admit the Truth About Doping

By Leonid Bershidsky



Russian President Vladimir Putin is changing his tune about the doping scandal that has engulfed Russian Olympic and paralympic athletes.

Ban Russia from the Rio Olympics

By The Times Editorial Board

The Los Angeles Times


It would be naive to think doping is limited to Russia. Just look at the parade of suspensions among professional American athletes caught using banned substances, not to mention the fall of cycling legend Lance Armstrong. It would be naive, too, to think that banning Russia from the games will end the problem. But it would send the necessary message that cheating is unacceptable, even if it is just for the sake of a game.

Why Russia Makes the Olympics Better

By Matthew Futterman

The Wall Street Journal


Regardless of whether Russian athletes deserve to be punished, the games will be less entertaining and less fulfilling if they are not in Rio.

I.O.C. Forces Russians to Prove They Have a Drug-Free Past

By Rebecca R. Ruiz

The New York Times


Olympic officials said on Sunday that all Russian athletes were tainted by the country’s state-run doping system and would not be allowed to compete in the Summer Games unless they convinced individual sports federations of their innocence.

Russia and Trump

Donald Trump, the Siberian Candidate

By Paul Krugman

The New York Times


If elected, would Donald Trump be Vladimir Putin’s man in the White House?

U.S. Elections: Is Donald Trump The Kremlin’s Candidate?

By Shellie Karabell



Recently even  editorial opinions and exchanges in responsible media such as the New York Times have dubbed Trump the “Kremlin’s candidate” because his strikingly negative view of the USA today and his suggested future actions as President sound like Moscow’s agenda.

Russia-US relations

The Friends and Foes of Détente With Russia

 By Stephen F. Cohen

The Nation


Events from Turkey, Washington, Moscow, and Syria to Cleveland affect the Obama-Putin attempted rapprochement.

Russia-NATO relations

The Big Boom: Nukes And NATO

By Conn Hallinan



Rather than recognizing the growing discomfort of a number of NATO allies and that beefing up forces on Russia’s borders might be destabilizing, U.S. Sec. of State John Kerry recently inked defense agreements with Georgia and Ukraine.

Syrian conflict

America Has No Choice But to Cooperate with Russia in Syria

By Daniel R. DePetris

The National Interest


The United States is running out of options in Syria, and the Obama administration is becoming increasingly desperate.

Russia Bombed Base in Syria Used by U.S.

By Adam Entous, Gordon Lubold

The Wall Street Journal


An outpost near the Jordanian border that is used by U.S. and British special forces was hit by the airstrikes last month.

Russia-Turkey relations

What Putin And Erdogan Will Speak About At First Meeting Since Jet Downing

By Damien Sharkov 



Turkey’s attempted coup, Syria and oil are all on the likely agenda.

Russia’s internal policy

Russia’s Muslim Regions Turn to the Gulf for Help

Lead Analyst: Lauren Goodrich



As Russia’s financial circumstances worsen, many of the country’s Muslim republics will try to attract outside investment by implementing Islamic finance tools and establishing joint banks with Muslim countries, despite federal regulations.

Is Russia’s Surveillance State Being Modelled on the West?

By Ronald Bailey



Did legislation in the United Kingdom and the United States inspire Russian authorities to adopt their country’s new domestic spying laws? Maybe.

Russia’s economy

Oil Must Go to $40 and Stay There to Buy Russia Some Reforms

By Anna Andrianova, Andre Tartar



Brent crude at $40 is the key threshold for Russia, so low that institutional reforms become unavoidable but high enough to prevent a financial meltdown, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists.

Articles also deserving your attention

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  1. Banning Russia from Rio a must, but is damage irreparable? (18.07.16)
  2. Olympic Doping Just Part of Sick Spectacle (18.07.16)
  1. Banning Russia from Rio is imperative to save Olympics’ credibility (18.07.16)
  1. Don’t let the West’s rivalry with Russia spill over into the Olympics (23.07.16)
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  11. Russia and Turkey’s Rapprochement (20.07.16)
  12. Putin May Be Turkey’s New Buddy after the Failed Coup (19.07.16)
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