Russia sees sports doping allegations as spiteful 'political hit job'

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Russia Accused Of Widespread Doping In Devastating Report

The Kremlin dismissed sweeping doping allegations against its athletes on Tuesday as entirely groundless, while Russia's sporting and anti-doping chiefs suggested the international furor bore all the hallmarks of a "political hit job".

Russia's stature as a sporting superpower is part of President Vladimir Putin's rebranding of his country as resurgent, and allegations from a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) commission that Russian athletes have systematically used performance-enhancing substances have cut deep.

READ ALSO: WADA report devastatingly critical of doping in Russia

"I hope this will not affect the morale of our athletes," Vadim Zelichenok, the acting head of the Russian Athletics Foundation (VFLA), at the center of the burgeoning scandal, told a news conference.

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Russia sees sports doping allegations as spiteful 'political hit job'
A member of Russian honor guard listens to the Olympic Anthem during a welcome ceremony for the German Olympic team at the Mountain Olympic Village prior to the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Members of the Italian team cheer as they enter the stadium during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova carries the Olympic torch during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: Snowflakes transform into four Olympic rings with one failing to form during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Fireworks are seen over the Olympic Park during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Members of the Slovenian Cross-country ski team ski in front of Olympic rings at Laura Cross-country Ski & Biathlon Center of the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)
Speedskaters from Russia train at the Adler Arena Skating Center during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Stefania Berton and Ondrej Hotarek of Italy compete in the team pairs short program figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
Czech Republic's Sarka Pancochova takes a jump during the women's snowboard slopestyle qualifying at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Kate Hansen of the United States prepares to start a run during the women's singles luge training at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Sweden's Niklas Mattsson finishes his first run during men's snowboard slopestyle qualifying at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Goalkeeper Jennifer Harss of Germany reaches for the puck as Johanna Olofsson's of Sweden shot get by her for a goal during the third period of women's ice game at Shayba Arean during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Mark Blinch, Pool)
Charles Hamelin of Canada celebrates winning the men's 1500m short track speedskating final at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Monday, Feb. 10, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 11: Shaun White of the United States crashes out in the Snowboard Men's Halfpipe Finals on day four of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on February 11, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Silver medallist Jan Smeekens of the Netherlands pulls his hair after completing his second heat for the men's 500-meter speedskating race at the Adler Arena Skating Center at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Monday, Feb. 10, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Devin Logan of the United States takes a jump during the women's freestyle skiing slopestyle qualifying at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 08: Qingshuang Yue of China during curling training on day 1 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the Ice Cube on February 8, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Gold medallist Michel Mulder from the Netherlands clenches his fist after his second heat race in the men's 500-meter speedskating race at the Adler Arena Skating Center during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Monday, Feb. 10, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Erin Hamlin of the United States hugs her parents Ron and Eileen Hamlin after the flower ceremony during the women's singles luge competition at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. Hamlin won the bronze medal. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
Shani Davis of the U.S. takes a breather after competing in the men's 1,000-meter speedskating race at the Adler Arena Skating Center during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Sweden defenseman Erik Karlsson (65) loses his footing as he passes the puck from Czech Republic forward Martin Erat in the first period of a men's ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 08: Ashley Wagner of the United States reacts to her score after competing in the Figure Skating Team Ladies Short Program during day one of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Iceberg Skating Palace on February 8, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Darren Cummings/Pool/Getty Images)
France's Marie Marchand-Arvier crashes into safety netting during the women's downhill at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Switzerland's Dominique Gisin reacts after finishing the women's downhill the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. She tied for first place with Slovenia's Tina Maze to win the gold medal.(AP Photo/Gero Breloer)
A referee signals a goal as Slovenia goaltender Robert Kristan lays on the ice after Russia defenseman Anton Belov scored in the third period of a men's ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. Russia won 5-2.(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey )
Katharine Eustace of New Zealand is met by her coach after her final run during the women's skeleton competition at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. 14, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
Norway’s skip Thomas Ulsrud, center, shouts to his sweepers Haavard Vad Petersson, left, and Christoffer Svae after delivering the rock during the men's curling competition against Sweden at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
Women's downhill medalists, from left, Slovenia's Tina Maze and Switzerland's Dominique Gisin, who tied for the gold, and Switzerland's Lara Gut, who finished third for the bronze, pose with their medals at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Latvia defenseman Sandis Ozolins collides with Czech Republic forward Milan Michalek in the third period of a men's ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. 14, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Li Jianrou of China celebrates winning the women's 500m short track speedskating final at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
USA forward T.J. Oshie prepares to take a shot against Russia goaltender Sergei Bobrovski in an overtime shootout during a men's ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. Oshie scored the winning goal and the USA won 3-2. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Kamil Aizetulin gets his face painted in the colors of the Russian flag during a women's ski cross seeding run at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, the 2014 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
China's Wu Chao jumps during men's freestyle skiing aerials training at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 08: Team Canada talk before thre game prior to the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group A Game against Switzerland on day 1 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Shayba Arena on February 8, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)
Mao Asada of Japan competes in the women's free skate figure skating finals at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Members of Team Sweden and Team Finland mix it up during the 2014 Winter Olympics women's quarterfinal ice hockey game at Shayba Arena, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Men's super-G joint bronze medal winner Bode Miller of the United States is consoled by his wife, Morgan, at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Russia forward Pavel Datsyuk reacts after scoring a goal against the USA in the second period of a men's ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Sweden's Lars Nelson skis past a hole in the snow during the men's 4x10K cross-country relay at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Unidentified athletes ski through the fog as the men's biathlon 15K mass start race has been postponed due to the lack of visibility at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Russia defenseman Yevgeni Medvedev and USA forward Ryan Callahan shove each other in the first period of a men's ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 15: Kamil Stoch of Poland jumps during the Men`s Large Hill Individual 1st Round on day 8 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at RusSki Gorki Jumping Center on February 15, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
Germany's Andreas Wank, left, hugs huis teammates after winning the gold during the ski jumping large hill team competition at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic skates her way to gold in the women's 5,000-meter speedskating race at the Adler Arena Skating Center during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
New Zealand's Beau-James Wells gets air during the men's ski halfpipe final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 12: Eric Frenzel of Germany celebrates as he wins the gold medal during the Nordic Combined Individual Gundersen Normal Hill and 10km Cross Country on day 5 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the RusSki Gorki Nordic Combined Skiing Stadium on February 12, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
USA goaltender Jonathan Quick catches a shot on the goal during the first period of men's quarterfinal hockey game against the Czech Republic in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 14: Hansin Lee of South Korea starts a run during the Men's Skeleton heats on Day 7 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Sliding Center Sanki on February 14, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 21: Krystyna Palka of Poland competes during the Women's 4 x 6 km Relay during day 14 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Laura Cross-country Ski & Biathlon Center on February 21, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: Jo Alexander Koppang of Norway in the Luge during a training session ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the Sanki Sliding Center on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Norway's Tora Berger shoots during the mixed biathlon relay at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
Polina Edmunds of the United States competes in the women's short program figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
Belarus' Nadezhda Skardino skis during a women's biathlon training session at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
Sweden goaltender Henrik Lundqvist blocks a shot by Finland during the third period of a men's semifinal ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 13: Elise Christie of Great Britain (C) falls and collides with Seung-Hi Park of South Korea (L) and Arianna Fontana of Italy (R) as she competes in the Short Track Speed Skating Ladies' 500 m Final on day 6 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at at Iceberg Skating Palace on February 13, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 15: Anna Fenninger of Austria in action during the Alpine Skiing Women's Super-G on day 8 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Alpine Center on February 15, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Carolina Kostner of Italy casts a shadow as she begins her routine in the figure skating exhibition gala at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
Russia's gold medal winner Alexander Legkov, Russia's bronze medal winner Ilia Chernousov and Russia's silver medal winner Maxim Vylegzhanin, from right, rest in the finish area after the men's 50K cross-country race at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 09: Sarah Hendrickson of the United States jumps during the Ladies' Normal Hill Individual Ski Jumping training on day 2 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at RusSki Gorki Jumping Center on February 9, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Canada's Justine Dufour-Lapointe, right, is congratulated by her sister, Chloe, after taking first place in the women's moguls final at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. Justine won the gold medal and Chloe took the silver. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 14: Lydia Lassila of Australia practices before the Freestyle Skiing Ladies' Aerials Qualification on day seven of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on February 14, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 21: (L-R) Fanny Smith of Switzerland, Anna Holmlund of Sweden, Katrin Ofner of Austria and Kelsey Serwa of Canada compete in the Freestyle Skiing Womens' Ski Cross Semi Finals on day 14 of the 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on February 21, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 12: Gold medalist Eric Frenzel of Germany jumps in celebration alongside silver medalist Akito Watabe of Japan (L) and bronze medalist Magnus Krog of Norway (R) during the flower ceremony for the Men?s Nordic Combined Individual Gundersen Normal Hill and 10km Cross Country on day 5 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the RusSki Gorki Nordic Combined Skiing Stadium on February 12, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 14: Lydia Lassila of Australia competes in the Freestyle Skiing Ladies' Aerials Qualification on day seven of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on February 14, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 22: Sami Vatanen #45 and Tuomo Ruutu #15 of Finland celebrate with teammates after defeating the United States 5-0 during the Men's Ice Hockey Bronze Medal Game on Day 15 of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 22, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)
Bronze medalist Amelie Kober, from left, of Germany silver medalist Anke Karstens, also of Germany,and gold medalist Julia Dujmovits, of Austria, take pictures after their flower ceremony for the women's snowboard parallel slalom at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
(From L) Canada's gold medallists Duncan Keith, goalkeeper Carey Price and Jonathan Toews celebrate during the Men's Ice Hockey Medal Ceremony at the Bolshoy Ice Dome during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / JONATHAN NACKSTRAND (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)
The team from France FRA-1, with Loic Costerg, Romain Heinrich, Florent Ribet and Elly Lefort, react after their final run during the men's four-man bobsled competition final at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
Women's slalom gold medal winner Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States steps off of the podium after a flower ceremony at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)
Fireworks explode over Olympic Park at the end of the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
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"There is an element of a political hit job here because quite a few things were described (in the report) in a biased way," he said, insisting there was no corruption in the Russian sporting establishment.

The WADA commission recommended Russia be suspended from international competition. If endorsed by the International Athletics Federation (IAAF), the proposal could see Russian athletes excluded from next year's Olympic games in Brazil.

IAAF head Sebastian Coe has given Moscow to the end of the week to respond to WADA accusations of a state-sponsored doping culture, extending to athletes and coaches, and other allegations of collusion in payment of bribes to suppress medical results that pointed to doping.

Though sports-related, the imbroglio is likely to play into Russia's wider political and media discourse which, fueled by the aftermath of the Ukraine crisis, is dominated by portrayal of a standoff between Russia and the U.S.-led West in which Moscow is often unfairly maligned.

Nikolai Durmanov, the former head of Russia's anti-doping agency, described the allegations as complete nonsense and as a literary work based upon "a political order".

The previous head of Russia's athletics federation, Valentin Balakhnichev, whom the report sharply criticized, left his post in February this year.

He has repeatedly denied allegations of wrongdoing and told the TASS news agency on Tuesday he intended to take legal action to defend his name and that of Russian athletics.

Russia is still smarting from talk, emanating from some Western politicians, about the possibility of stripping it of the right to host the 2018 soccer World Cup because of a corruption scandal that has engulfed football's world governing body, FIFA.

Putin, who has yet to comment on the doping allegations, said in May he saw the hand of Washington behind the FIFA scandal, accusing it of trying to block re-election of Sepp Blatter, a strong Russian ally, as FIFA president. Blatter has since been suspended and is under criminal investigation.

Putin, a keen ice hockey player, has premised much of his promotion of a resurgent Russia on its sporting success, portraying its hosting of a successful winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014 as a symbol of a newly confident nation.

'GROUNDLESS ACCUSATIONS'

Putin's spokesman on Tuesday dismissed the doping allegations.

"Until some evidence is presented ... it is difficult to accept these accusations, they are quite groundless," Dmitry Peskov, Putin's spokesman, told reporters.

The athletics scandal is deeper-reaching than the FIFA affair or corruption revelations at the International Olympic Committee 15 years ago in that it has directly affected results on the field of sport. Medals would have gone to athletes who had cheated, while more deserving competitors were denied awards.

Russia came fourth overall in the 2012 London Olympics, wining a total of over 80 medals. If its athletes had been excluded it would still have finished fourth, but won about 20 fewer medals.

Nikita Kamaev, the head of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency, said a Moscow laboratory used for doping tests had been shut down after its accreditation was suspended by WADA.

Kamaev said allegations about a secret second laboratory and the alleged role of Russia's FSB Security Service in covering up doping were the stuff of fantasy.

"It's absolute rubbish, people have an over-active imagination," he told a news conference. "The stuff about a secret lab in the basement of the Lubyanka (nickname for FSB headquarters) does not stand up. The people (who said this) are living in the era of James Bond films."

The exchanges will indeed have revived memories for some of doping revelations in Soviet bloc countries during the Cold War. In East Germany, for instance, the Stasi secret police were closely involved in doping programs.

The commission said the Russian anti-doping laboratory in Moscow destroyed 1,417 samples shortly before a scheduled WADA inspection. Russian authorities said they had been ordered to destroy them by WADA itself.

Russia's sports ministry struck a mixed tone.

On the one hand, it said it was open to greater cooperation with WADA, the world anti-doping agency, so that it could eliminate any irregularities in its own anti-doping regime. But in the same statement it complained about the way the WADA commission report had been presented in the media, urging the organization to base any future conclusions on facts.

It also reminded WADA it had no right to "predetermine" the future actions of international sporting bodies, a spiky response to a recommendation that Russian athletes be excluded from international competition.

There were some problems, the ministry conceded, without specifying what they were; but it said it had acted to redress shortcomings, changing the leadership of the country's athletics federation and appointing a new senior trainer.

The commission report recommended lifetime bans for five athletes, four coaches and one doctor, all Russian. They included the women's 800 meters Olympic champion Mariya Savinova and the bronze medalist, Ekaterina Poistogova.

"Russia's ministry of sport is waiting for similar measures to be taken by the International Athletics Federation," it said.

Moscow residents interviewed by Reuters said the allegations looked like a spiteful attempt to rein in the country's sporting success.

"It is a politically-motivated attack on our sport," one man, Dmitry, who declined to give his surname, said.

(Additional reporting by Maria Vasilyeva, Vladimir Soldatkin, Maria Kiselyeva, Jason Bush, Christian Lowe; Editing by Ralph Boulton)

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