Berlin - Russian
whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov, the source of revelations about
Moscow's state-sponsored doping, claims in a German TV report to be
broadcast on Monday that President Vladimir 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 is quoted as saying in the
Putin "could not deny" knowledge of the scheme, Rodchenkov adds 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
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
Rodchenkov also claimed that, before the 2014 Sochi Games, Russia had
run a state-organised doping system at the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London
Since he fled Russia in late 2015, Rodchenkov has entered an FBI
witness protection programme, while Russia has issued an international
warrant for his arrest.
"I enjoy every day I'm still alive," Rodchenkov said in the interview.
Russia was suspended in August 2016 following revelations of
widespread state-sponsored doping uncovered in a report by Richard
McLaren on behalf of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Neither WADA nor the International Olympic Committee have linked
Putin to the conspiracy, only pointing to the sports ministry and
slapping lifetime Olympic bans on Nagornikh and Mutko.