In December 2014, German public broadcaster
ARD aired a documentary which made wide-ranging allegations that Russia organized a state-run
doping program which supplied their athletes with
 In November 2015, the
World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) published a report and the
International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) suspended Russia indefinitely from world track and field events.
In May 2016,
The New York Times published allegations by the former director of Russia's anti-doping laboratory, Dr.
Grigory Rodchenkov, that a conspiracy of corrupt anti-doping officials,
Federal Security Service (FSB) intelligence agents, and compliant Russian athletes used banned substances to gain an unfair advantage during the Games. Rodchenkov stated that the FSB tampered with over 100 urine samples as part of a
cover-up, and that a third of the Russian medals won at Sochi were the result of doping.
 On 18 July 2016, an independent investigation commissioned by
World Anti-Doping Agency concluded that it was shown "beyond a reasonable doubt" that the
Ministry of Sport, the
Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Centre of Sports Preparation of the National Teams of Russia had "operated for the protection of doped Russian athletes" within a "state-directed failsafe system" using "the disappearing positive [test] methodology." According to the
McLaren Report, the Disappearing Positive Methodology operated from "at least late 2011 to August 2015." It was used on 643 positive samples, a number that the authors consider "only a minimum" due to limited access to Russian records.
In December 2016, The New York Times reported that senior Russian officials carried out one of the biggest conspiracies in sports history — a far-reaching doping operation that implicated scores of Russian athletes. It was confirmed that a lab director tampered with urine samples at the Olympics and provided cocktails of performance-enhancing drugs, corrupting some of the world’s most prestigious competitions. Members of the FSB broke into sample bottles holding urine. In addition, a deputy sports minister (who is also in charge of the
2018 FIFA World Cup)
Vitaly Mutko for years ordered cover-ups of top athletes’ use of banned substances. Anna Antseliovich, the acting director general of Russia’s national antidoping agency (RUSADA) characterized Russia's cheating program as an "institutional conspiracy.”
 RUSADA later said that her words were "taken out of context" and "distorted".
 Russia continued to deny any involvement of the state with Putin blaming the US in late November 2017.
On 9 December 2016, Canadian lawyer
Richard McLaren published the second part of his
independent report. The investigation found that from 2011 to 2015, more than 1,000 Russian competitors in various sports (including summer, winter, and Paralympic sports) benefited from the cover-up.
 Following the release of the McLaren report, the
International Olympic Committee announced the initiation of an investigation of 28 Russian athletes at the Sochi Olympic Games.
La Gazzetta dello Sport reported the names of 17 athletes, of whom 15 are among the 28 under investigation.
 As of late November 2017, 11 Russian athletes had been
stripped of their 2014 medals and 31 had been disqualified for competition in 2018.
 The number of athletes under investigation rose to 36 (and eventually 46) in December.
On 5 December 2017, the IOC announced that Russian Olympic Committee had been suspended with immediate effect from the 2018 Winter Olympics.
 Athletes who had no previous drug violations and a consistent history of drug testing were to be allowed to compete under the
Olympic Flag as an "Olympic Athlete from Russia" (OAR).
 Under the terms of the decree, Russian government officials were barred from the Games, and neither the country's flag nor anthem would be present.
 IOC President
Thomas Bach said that "after following due process [the IOC] has issued proportional sanctions for this systematic manipulation while protecting the clean athletes."