The accusations are the latest scandal to hit Russian sport after the
country was banned from competing in several international competitions
over state-sponsored doping.
"Russia's Olympic squad will be prevented from participating fully in
the Olympic Games in Tokyo... I think that this will also happen at
the (Winter Olympic) Games in China," the head of Russia's RUSADA
agency, Yuri Ganus, told AFP in an exclusive interview.
The best-case scenario in his view is very limited participation "by
certain athletes, by invitation", as happened at the 2018 Pyeongchang
He expects other penalties too, including restrictions on holding
international tournaments in Russia, exclusion of Russians from
international sports federations and fines.
In September, the World
Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) demanded Russia explain "inconsistencies" in
electronic data it handed over which listed results of tests carried out
under the laboratory's previous leadership.
The data handover was supposed to demonstrate Russia's desire for
transparency after the scandalous revelations that RUSADA facilitated
state-sponsored doping between 2011 and 2015.
Russian sports minister Pavel Kolobkov sent a letter of explanation to WADA about the data it queried on October 8.
But Ganus - who says he has not had access to that letter -
suggests the scale of the data manipulation is such that these
explanations are likely to be insufficient.
On October 23, WADA's Compliance Review Committee, which has powers
to recommend sanctions, is set to meet experts who have analysed the
data and looked at Russia's explanations.
The walls of Ganus's office in central Moscow are covered with
posters promoting clean sport and messages of support from counterparts
around the world.
He insists his organisation had nothing to do with the data
manipulation because it did not have access to the database in question.
He believes that high-ranking officials must have carried out the
fraud since the laboratory data was "under the control of Russia's
The powerful agency is leading criminal investigations into
laboratory employees who were allegedly involved in state-sponsored
But Ganus wonders what those investigations could hope to achieve now
the credibility of authorities has been so undermined in his eyes.
He hints that officials may have intervened to protect top athletes from the revelation of their use of doping.
"Whose names were in there? What was there in the data? This data was information about athletes' test samples.
"Who were the people who were able to infiltrate the Investigative
Committee, what state powers did they have? This is extremely serious,"
The falsifications took place "on the eve of the transfer (of the data) to WADA".
Ganus, whose appointment as
head of RUSADA in 2017 was supposed to drag Russia out of a morass, now
sees the country at a crossroads.
"This is a blow to the current generation of athletes and to future generations as well," he says.
"It's a tragedy."
In recent months Ganus has issued harsh criticisms of Russia's
sporting authorities, accusing Russian media of attempting to discredit
him and inventing a Western conspiracy against Moscow.
"All my statements are aimed at us making the right decisions," he says.
"Russia cannot continue any more with its old methods which have made the doping crisis worse."
"We need to get rid of the idea that the West is trying to put pressure on us," he says.
"Russia needs to put its own house in order."
The country needs "new heads of the sporting organisations," he says,
stressing that this "should include" a new sports minister.
In the fight to clean up sport, he is "counting on the support of the president" Vladimir Putin.