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Russia Reform Monitor - No. 2173

Russia's Olympic dreams in peril;
Shilling for Syria at the UN

Edited by Ilan Berman
December 12, 2017

November 16:

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has struck a blow to Russia's Olympic hopes.
Reuters reports that the agency has determined Russia remains "non-compliant" with its Code, and that Russia's state anti-doping agency, RUSADA, should remain suspended as a result. The decision represents a major setback for Russia's plans to compete in next year's Winter Olympic Games - participation that is in jeopardy due to large-scale, systematic Russian doping violations that WADA has determined took place before and during the 2014 Sochi Games.

Moscow continues to provide impunity to Syria for its use of weapons of mass destruction.
The New York Times reports that the Kremlin has blocked a U.S.-sponsored resolution at the UN to prolong a probe into the Assad regime's repeated use of banned chemical weapons during the six-year-old civil war in that country. The Russian decision effectively means that the panel will be dissolved in coming days.

The move has drawn ire from U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley. "The message to anyone listening is clear: In effect, Russia accepts the use of chemical weapons in Syria," she has said. "The next chemical weapons attack is on your heads."

November 17:

Russian authorities are lashing out at the International Olympic Committee for its recent decision to continue its ban on Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA.
The Vedemosti newspaper cites observers familiar with the controversy as saying that if the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) moves forward with its efforts to ban Russia's national team from participating in next year's Winter Olympics over doping infractions, it could lead to a media blackout of the sporting event within the Russian Federation. Currently, the upcoming Games, which will be held in Seoul, South Korea, are scheduled to be broadcast on three state channels: "First" television, "Russia 1" and the Gazprom-owned "Match TV." However, if the national team is not allowed to participate, one or more of these media outlets will likely decide not to air the event at all, sources cited by the paper warn.

Russia and China are planning joint anti-missile drills next month,
China's GB Times reports. The cooperative exercises, which will take place in the PRC, are intended "to counter sudden and provocative ballistic and cruise missile attacks targeting the two nations."

Russian propaganda has quietly targeted a surprising actor: Canadian forces in the Baltics.
Canada's National Post reports that, over the past half-year, the roughly 450 Canadian soldiers deployed in Latvia have come under fire in the media as part of "fake news designed to discredit NATO forces." The erroneous stories range from allegations of "Canadians being accommodated in luxury apartments at local taxpayers' expense, to images that purport to show them littering indiscriminately or fixated on buying beer," Latvian authorities say. According to them, the goal is to generate discontent with the presence of NATO forces among local populations near Russia's borders.

November 18:

Will the killers of journalist Paul Klebnikov finally be brought to justice? Klebnikov, the first editor of Forbes Russia, was murdered in Moscow in the summer of 2004 for what many believe was his investigative work into corruption in Russia (in particular in the Republic of Chechnya). His killers, however, have never been brought to justice, with all three suspects apprehended by authorities later being acquitted. But now,
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, Ukraine's state security service, the SBU, has announced that it has detained two Russian nationals wanted by Interpol. The arrest could lead to a major breakthrough in the Klebnikov case, because one of the men detained reportedly "participated in a number of assassinations, in particular, the editor in chief of the Russian edition of Forbes and the deputy chairman of the apparatus of the government of the Chechen Republic in 2001-2003."

Related Categories: Russia; Russia and Eurasia Program; Ukraine

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