The doping scandal that keeps many Russian athletes from competing in top events, including the ongoing Winter Olympics, was just part of the West’s devious strategy against Moscow, Russia’s foreign minister has said.
Sergey Lavrov said barring dozens of Russians from the games was “part of this unfair competition, because the Americans apparently can no longer beat us in a fair fight. They believe that taking back and preserving uncontested leadership in global sports requires sidelining the competition.
The assertion came in an interview the minister gave to Rossia-1 news channel, aired on Sunday. Lavrov said in other areas he saw the same approach, “the use of unilateral, coercive, illegitimate, unlawful actions to obtain the advantage.”
Lavrov believes that the US and other Western powers are now fighting dirty because they cannot deal with the fact that Russia resurged after a low point in the 1990s, when much of its government was influenced by various foreign advisors pushing the agendas of their native countries. Russia has since realized it was “not a newborn country but a nation with a thousand-year long history” that its citizens should be proud of.
This was a shock for the people who falsely thought they could act with impunity against Russia. I believe they still cannot deal with this shock,” he added, saying the symptoms of the condition included the “Russiagate” scandal, an allegation that Russia somehow attacked American democracy during the 2016 presidential election. Lavrov says there will never be proof of such interference.
“They have been investigating this for a year and not a single fact has surfaced to corroborate these speculations,” he said. “If there were any facts, they would have been leaked by now. I know this is how the US system works. Everything gets leaked with so many people involved in all those hearings and investigations.”
The Russian minister said Moscow saw the current state of relations with the US as abnormal and expected it to be fixed in time. For its part, Russia will not take hasty action in retaliation to US moves like anti-Russian sanctions, to avoid fueling the hysteria and giving leverage to people wishing to escalate the tensions, he said.
Lavrov said he personally was “indifferent” to being listed on Washington’s latest list of Russian citizens who may be subjected to further sanctions. But he said he was initially baffled by the way the anti-Russian panic affected people in the US.
“I could not believe my eyes and ears, seeing and hearing many officials in Washington, in the administration and Congress, whom I knew personally — quite serious and smart, rational people. I was amazed to see them being stripped of every bit of sense by this mass psychosis,” he said.