The Kremlin needs to analyze the International Olympic Committee’s ruling to bar Russia and its sports officials from the upcoming Pyeongchang Games before making any decisions regarding the country’s participation, a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday.
Dmitry Peskov said “we need to put emotions aside” and “make a serious analysis” of the ruling before taking any steps. Peskov also said Russia “still needs to answer some questions” from the IOC.
Asked if the Russian officials who have been barred from attending the Olympics would be penalized or fired, Peskov insisted that is not a priority and that “protecting the interests of our athletes” is more important.
Earlier, Russian lawmakers blamed local sports officials for not doing enough to stop the IOC ruling. The Olympic body’s lead investigator concluded that members of the Russian government concocted a doping scheme at the 2014 Sochi Games.
The Kremlin has vehemently denied running a state-sponsored doping program, and state media on Wednesday dismissed the ban as part of a plot to hurt Russia.
Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the foreign affairs committee at the Russian parliament’s upper house, said the ruling is “clearly part of the West’s policy to restrain Russia” but insisted that local sports officials are to blame and “ought to bear personal responsibility” for letting it happen.
Vladimir Poletayev, deputy chairman of the committee on procedures at the Federation Council, went even further.
“All our sports officials, including the Russian Olympic Committee, ought to be personally accountable for the ban on Russia and ought to step down,” Poletayev said in comments carried by the RIA Novosti news agency.