Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday said the whistleblower at the source of doping allegations Grigory Rodchenkov was an “idiot” who should not be trusted, though admitting there have been “instances” of doping use.
“They’ve got this idiot Rodchenkov,” Putin said, apparently referring to the US, where Rodchenkov has fled. “Everything is based on testimony of this man... can he even be trusted?”
He added however that it’s partially Russia’s “own fault” for being under scrutiny for doping. “After all, there were instances of doping use,” he said.
‘All the way from the top’
Rodchenkov, the source of revelations about Moscow’s state-sponsored doping, had claimed in a German TV report to be broadcast Monday that Putin ordered the conspiracy.
“Of course it came all the way from the top, from the president,” Rodchenkov told German public broadcaster ARD in a phone interview, according to a report on the station’s website.
“Because only the president can deploy the domestic secret service FSB for such a special task,” he was quoted as saying in the German-language report.
Putin “could not deny” knowledge of the scheme, Rodchenkov added in the report.
Rodchenkov is the former director of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory who fled to the United States in 2016 saying he feared for his life after the sudden death of two senior officials from Russia’s anti-doping agency.
Russia has been banned from taking part at the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics although individual athletes who prove themselves to be clean can compete under strict conditions and under a neutral flag.
Rodchenkov also said he was convinced that Putin was kept informed about all details of the programme by Vitali Mutko, the then sports minister and current vice premier.
He said that in his own former post, he reported to then-vice sports minister Yuri Nagornikh, who in turn reported to Mutko, who reported to Putin.