— Published 22 September 2023

At least ten years of sanctions

The question of Russian athletes’ participation in the Paris 2024 Games is still unresolved, but more and more Russian officials are losing faith. The most pessimistic are already imagining a decade of sanctions and isolation. The former president of the Russian Athletics Federation, Valentin Balakhnichev (pictured above) – disbarred for life by World Athletics for his involvement in the Russian athletics doping scandal – is not the most confident. As he explained this week at a round-table discussion at the State Duma: “We’ve talked a lot about what’s happening today, but we haven’t said how long this situation will last. I can tell you that it will last at least ten years. We need to prepare ourselves for a very serious, long-term battle. Now is not the time to think about whether our athletes will be allowed to go to the Olympics, but about what will happen to Russia over the next ten years. The IOC has placed its people everywhere, while our representatives have all but disappeared.” At the same round table, Valentin Balakhnichev suggested that Russia should follow China’s example in the coming years, devoting the same resources and efforts to developing national competitions.