Friday, November 13, 2015

A Doping Travesty Russia Cannot Duck

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD, NYT, NOV. 13, 2015

A central thrust of Soviet propaganda throughout the Cold War was to portray all Soviet misconduct, however outrageous, as no different from what the West was doing — including the propaganda itself. Accordingly, if the West accused the Kremlin of some gross wrongdoing, it was promptly depicted as another hypocritical attempt to belittle the Soviet Union. To a degree it worked: Many Russians, lacking any direct experience of the West, accepted a moral equivalence between their system and Western democracy — along with an instinctive fear of a world forever scheming against them. Alas, this approach has become an integral part of Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

On Monday, the World Anti-Doping Agency released a 323-page report detailing widespread and systematic doping of Russian athletes and extraordinary efforts by top sports officials and secret services to cover it up. That in itself was an echo of the Soviet era, when the state put an enormous premium on sports as a measure of its ideology’s superiority and routinely fed its athletes performance-enhancing chemicals. According to Reuters, Mr. Putin said Wednesday that the doping allegations should be investigated. But the general response was described in Neil MacFarquhar’s article in The Times on Tuesday. Everybody does it, and this is just another attempt by the West to humiliate Russia.

Such blame-shifting has been the Putin regime’s consistent response to criticism. The uprising in Ukraine was an American plot. Charges that Russia’s allies shot down a Malaysian jetliner over Ukraine were a deliberate Western concoction. The drop in oil prices was engineered by America to hurt Russia. The accusations of widespread corruption in FIFA, the ruling body of world soccer, are an American ploy to deny Russia the World Cup tournament.

(More here.)

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