headed 2015 WADA investigation and became a vocal critic of the IOC's indecision
In January 2015, then-ARAF President
Valentin Balakhnichev resigned as treasurer of the
International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
In response to the ARD documentary, WADA commissioned an investigation headed by former anti-doping agency President
Dick Pound, the report of which was published on 9 November 2015.
 The 335-page document, described as "damning" by
 reported widespread doping and large-scale cover-ups by the Russian authorities. It stated that the
Federal Security Service (FSB) had regularly visited and questioned laboratory staff and instructed some of them not to cooperate with the WADA investigation.
:196–197 Two staff members said that they suspected that the offices and telephones were bugged.
:196–197 The report recommended that ARAF be declared non-compliant with respect to the
World Anti-Doping Code and that the
International Olympic Committee not accept any
2016 Summer Olympics entries from ARAF until compliance was reached.
A day later, WADA suspended the Moscow Anti-doping Center, prohibiting the laboratory "from carrying out any WADA-related anti-doping activities including all analyses of urine and blood samples."
 On 13 November, the IAAF council voted 22–1 in favour of prohibiting Russia from world track and field events with immediate effect.
 Under other penalties against the ARAF, Russia has been also prohibited from hosting the 2016
World Race Walking Team Championships (
Cheboksary) and 2016
World Junior Championships (
Kazan), and ARAF must entrust doping cases to
Court of Arbitration for Sport.
 ARAF accepted the indefinite IAAF suspension and did not request a hearing.
 ARAF's efforts towards regaining full IAAF membership will be monitored by a five-person IAAF team.
 On 18 November 2015 WADA suspended
RUSADA, meaning that Russia does not have a functioning NADO for any sport.
In November 2015, France began a criminal investigation into former IAAF president
Lamine Diack, alleging that in 2011 he accepted a 1 million euro bribe from the
All-Russia Athletic Federation to cover up positive doping results of at least six Russian athletes.
January to May 2016
In January 2016, the IAAF gave lifetime bans to the former head of the Russian athletics federation, Valentin Balakhnichev, and a top Russian coach, Aleksey Melnikov.
In mid-January, WADA released the second report by its independent commission.
 The following month, the United Kingdom Anti-Doping (UKAD) agency was tasked to oversee testing in Russia.
Two former directors of
RUSADA, Vyacheslav Sinyev and Nikita Kamaev, mysteriously died in February 2016.
The Sunday Times reported that Kamaev had approached the newspaper shortly before his death planning to publish a book on "the true story of sport pharmacology and doping in Russia since 1987".
Grigory Rodchenkov, a lab director described by WADA as "the heart of Russian doping", was fired by Russian authorities and fled in fear of his safety to the United States, where he shared information
 with the help of filmmaker
Bryan Fogel, which was documented in the film
In March 2016, ARD broadcast the documentary "Russia's Red Herrings", alleging that athletes were alerted about testing plans and offered banned substances by individuals at RUSADA and ARAF.
 According to a May 2016 report in
The New York Times, the director of a prominent laboratory, Grigory Rodchenkov, said that doping experts collaborated with Russia's intelligence service on a state-sponsored doping programme in which urine samples were switched through a hole in the laboratory's wall.
 He said that at least fifteen medalists at the
2014 Winter Olympics were involved.
 On 19 May, WADA appointed Richard McLaren to lead an investigation into the
2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
An ARD documentary in June 2016 implicated Russian sports minister
Vitaly Mutko in covering up doping by a football player at FK Krasnodar.
 In the same month, IAAF deputy general secretary Nick Davies was provisionally suspended over allegations that he took money to delay naming Russian athletes.
 According to the BBC, emails from July 2013 showed that Davies had discussed how to delay or soften an announcement on Russians who had tested positive.
In June 2016, WADA released a report stating that the work of its Doping Control Officers (DCO) had been limited by a "significant amount of unavailable athlete reports and missed tests", insufficient or incorrect athlete location information, and little information about the location or date of competitions. Some athletes named military cities requiring special permission to enter as their location and some national championships, including Olympic qualifiers, were held in cities with restricted access due to civil conflicts, preventing testing of the competitors.
 WADA also reported intimidation of DCOs by armed
Federal Security Service (FSB) agents; "significant delays" before being allowed to enter venues; consistent monitoring by security staff; delays in receiving athlete lists; and opening of sample packages by Russian customs.
 90% of Russian athletes did not respond or "emphatically" refused when WADA requested to interview them as part of its investigation.
 Director general David Howman stated, "It was the very right time for those who considered themselves clean [to approach WADA]. They had nine months, plenty of time, and none came forward."
On 17 June, the IAAF Council held an extraordinary meeting "principally to give the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) a further opportunity to satisfy the Reinstatement Conditions for IAAF Membership."
 A task force chaired by
Rune Andersen recommended against reinstating Russia after reporting that criteria had not been met and that there were "detailed allegations, which are already partly substantiated, that the Russian authorities, far from supporting the anti-doping effort, have in fact orchestrated systematic doping and the covering up of adverse analytical findings."
 The IAAF voted unanimously to uphold its ban.
A week later, the
International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) decided to give a one-year ban to Russia, along with two other countries; on 3 August 2016 the IOC ratified the decision, and Russia's weightlifting team missed the
2016 Summer Olympics.
On 18 July 2016,
Richard McLaren, a Canadian attorney retained by WADA to investigate Rodchenkov's allegations, published a 97-page report covering significant state-sponsored doping in Russia.
 Although limited by a 57-day time frame, the investigation found corroborating evidence after conducting witness interviews, reviewing thousands of documents, analysis of hard drives, forensic analysis of urine sample collection bottles, and laboratory analysis of individual athlete samples, with "more evidence becoming available by the day."
:5 The report concluded that it was shown "beyond a reasonable doubt" that Russia's
Ministry of Sport, the Centre of Sports Preparation of the National Teams of Russia, the
Federal Security Service (FSB), and the WADA-accredited laboratory in Moscow had "operated for the protection of doped Russian athletes" within a "state-directed failsafe system" using "the disappearing positive [test] methodology" after the country's poor medal count during the
2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.
 McLaren stated that urine samples were opened in Sochi in order to swap them "without any evidence to the untrained eye".
 The official producer of BEREG-KIT security bottles used for anti-doping tests, Berlinger Group, stated, "We have no knowledge of the specifications, the methods or the procedures involved in the tests and experiments conducted by the McLaren Commission."
According to the McLaren report, the Disappearing Positive Methodology operated from "at least late 2011 to August 2015."
:35 It was used on 643 positive samples, a number that the authors consider "only a minimum" due to limited access to Russian records.
:39 The system covered up positive results in a wide range of sports:
- Athletics (139)
- Weightlifting (117)
- Non-Olympic sports (37)
- Paralympic sport (35)
- Wrestling (28)
- Canoe (27)
- Cycling (26)
- Skating (24)
- Swimming (18)
- Ice hockey (14)
- Skiing (13)
- Football (11)
- Rowing (11)
- Biathlon (10)
- Bobsleigh (8)
- Judo (8)
- Volleyball (8)
- Boxing (7)
- Handball (7)
- Taekwondo (6)
- Fencing (4)
- Triathlon (4)
- Modern pentathlon (3)
- Shooting (3)
- Beach volleyball (2)
- Curling (2)
- Basketball (1)
- Sailing (1)
- Snowboard (1)
- Table tennis (1)
- Water polo (1)
In response to these findings, WADA announced that RUSADA should be regarded as non-compliant with respect to the World Anti-Doping Code and recommended that Russian athletes be banned from competing at the
2016 Summer Olympics.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to decline 2016 Summer Olympics accreditation requests by Russian sports ministry officials and any individuals implicated in the report, to begin re-analysis and a full inquiry into Russian competitors at the Sochi Olympics, and to ask sports federations to seek alternative hosts for major events that had been assigned to Russia.
On 21 July 2016, the
Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) turned down an appeal by the
Russian Olympic Committee and 68 Russian athletes.
 The following day, the
International Paralympic Committee began suspension proceedings against the National Paralympic Committee of Russia.
 On 24 July, the IOC rejected WADA's recommendation to ban Russia from the Summer Olympics and announced that a decision would be made by each sport federation. With each positive decision having to be approved by a CAS arbitrator.
 WADA's president Craig Reedie said, "WADA is disappointed that the IOC did not heed WADA's Executive Committee recommendations that were based on the outcomes of the McLaren Investigation and would have ensured a straight-forward, strong and harmonized approach."
 On the IOC's decision to exclude Stepanova, WADA director general Olivier Niggli stated that his agency was "very concerned by the message that this sends whistleblowers for the future."
On 30 July 2016 the IOC announced that a final decision on each athlete would be made by a newly established IOC panel consisting of
Claudia Bokel, and Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr.
August to September 2016
Originally Russia submitted a list of 389 athletes for the Rio Olympics competition. On 7 August 2016, the IOC cleared 278 athletes, while 111 were removed because of the scandal (including 67 athletes removed by IAAF before the IOC's decision).
Critics noted that Kuwaitis were banned from competing under their own flag (for a non-doping related matter) while Russians were permitted to do so. Due to governmental interference, Kuwaiti competitors were permitted to enter only as
Dick Pound stated, "It is not a consistent standard which is being applied now. Not all Kuwait athletes banned from competing in Rio under their own flag were supporters of the regime, and not all South African athletes were supporters of
apartheid, but the greater good called for South Africa to be expelled."
Deutsche Welle wrote of "troublesome questions, like why Kuwait's Olympic federation faced a ban from Rio, while Russia's did not. Kuwait's tiny team [...] was suspended because of improper political conduct by the government; Russia's was not, after systematically organizing a doping program for many of its competitors."
Having sent samples for forensic analysis, the
International Paralympic Committee (IPC) found evidence that the Disappearing Positive Methodology was in operation at the
2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi.
 On 7 August 2016, the IPC's Governing Board voted unanimously to ban the entire Russian team from the
2016 Summer Paralympics, citing the Russian Paralympic Committee's (RPC) inability to enforce the IPC's Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code, which is "a fundamental constitutional requirement".
 IPC President Sir Philip Craven described the Russian anti-doping system as "entirely compromised" and 18 July 2016 as "one of the darkest days in the history of all sport", and stated that the Russian government had "catastrophically failed its Para athletes".
 IPC Athletes' Council Chairperson Todd Nicholson said that Russia had used athletes as "pawns" in order to "show global prowess".
 On 23 August 2016, the
Court of Arbitration for Sport dismissed Russia's appeal, stating that the IPC's decision was "made in accordance with the IPC Rules and was proportionate in the circumstances" and that Russia "did not file any evidence contradicting the facts on which the IPC decision was based."
Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland rejected another appeal by Russia, saying that the RPC "needed to demonstrate it had fulfilled its obligations in upholding... anti-doping protocols, and that its interests in an immediate lifting of its suspension outweigh the International Paralympics Committee's interests in fighting doping and in the integrity of athletics. It did not succeed in this in any way."
 Rejecting an appeal by ten athletes, a German court stated that the IPC had no obligation to allow them to compete and that the committee had "comprehensibly justified" its decision.
In an interview with
NRK, WADA's director general Olivier Niggli said that "Russia is threatening us and our informers", mentioning daily hacking attempts and bugging of houses. He said that the agency had "a pretty good suspicion" that the hackers were Russian and that Western governments were already familiar with them.
 He stated, "I think this will cease if they stop looking at us as an enemy, and instead accept that there is a problem that we must work together to solve. But for the moment they are sending out completely the wrong signals."
October to December 2016
In October 2016, Russia's sports minister
Vitaly Mutko was promoted to deputy prime minister amid allegations that Mutko had covered up a doping violation.
On 3 November 2016, Russia approves anti-doping law targeting coaches.
On 15 November 2016, Berlinger introduced a new design for doping sample bottles. A spokesman later said, "We work with forensic specialists from different nations. We want to always stay a little bit ahead of those cheating but you cannot avoid a system like the Russians built up."
On 7 December 2016,
Yelena Isinbayeva became the chair of the supervisory board of the
Russian Anti-Doping Agency.
On 9 December 2016, McLaren published the second part of
his report. From 2011 to 2015, more than 1,000 Russian competitors in various sports (including summer, winter, and Paralympic sports) benefited from the cover-up.
 Emails indicate that they included five blind powerlifters, who may have been given drugs without their knowledge, and a fifteen-year-old.
 An IAAF taskforce announced that Russia could not be reinstated because the country still had no functional drug-testing agency and had not accepted the findings of investigations.
January to October 2017
In February 2017,
All-Russia Athletic Federation vice-president
Andrey Silnov held a press conference in Moscow alongside a former Soviet athlete who said that East German successes due to
state-sponsored doping are legitimate results of "good pharmacology" and should not be condemned.
 Later that month, WADA stated that evidence against many individuals named in the McLaren report might be insufficient because the Moscow laboratory had disposed of doping samples and Russian authorities were not answering requests for additional evidence.
An IAAF taskforce chaired by Rune Andersen published an interim report in April 2017.
 President Sebastian Coe stated, "There is testing but it is still far too limited. The Russian investigative committee is still refusing to hand over athlete biological passport samples for independent testing from labs, we still have got athletes in closed cities that are difficult or impossible to get to, the ongoing employment of coaches from a tainted system, and we have got the head coach of RUSAF effectively refusing to sign their own pledge to clean athletics."
 The report also noted the case of whistleblower Andrei Dmitriev, who had fled Russia after being threatened with imprisonment.
 Coe said, "Anyone with information about a system which has failed to protect the goals and aspirations of clean athletes must feel it is safe to speak out."
 Andersen questioned the selection of
Yelena Isinbayeva, who had called for whistleblower
Yuliya Stepanova to be "banned for life",
 as the chair of RUSADA's supervisory board. Andersen stated, "It is difficult to see how this helps to achieve the desired change in culture in track and field, or how it helps to promote an open environment for Russian whistleblowers", noting that Isinbayeva had called a WADA report "groundless" without reading it, publicly criticised whistleblowers (Dmitriev and the Stepanovs), and had not signed a pledge for clean sport or endorsed a Russian anti-doping group.
In September 2017, WADA rejected Russia's claims that WADA should be held responsible for Rodchenkov, noting that Russia had chosen to appoint him as head of the Moscow laboratory. The organisation also stated, "WADA would expect the Russian authorities to take responsibility for this deliberate system of cheating that was uncovered by the McLaren Investigation – as is stipulated within RUSADA's Roadmap to Compliance – rather than continually shifting the blame onto others."
 Seventeen national anti-doping organisations criticised the IOC for a "continuing refusal to hold Russia accountable for one of the biggest doping scandals in sports history" and "dereliction of duty [sending] a cynical message that those of favored, insider nations within the Olympic Movement will never be punished or held accountable".
 They stated that cases had been "shut prematurely before the IOC or IFs have obtained complete evidence from the Moscow laboratory or interviewed the relevant witnesses."
 An additional 20 NADOs have signed on.
November to December 2017
In November 2017 IOC disciplinary commission headed by
Denis Oswald imposed first sanctions after its yearlong Sochi investigations. As of 22 December 2017, 43 Russian athletes have been sanctioned and 13 medals have been stripped.
On 10 November 2017, the day after Vladimir Putin had accused the U.S. of ginning up problems for Russian athletes
, WADA said in a news release that it had obtained an electronic file that contains “all testing data” from January 2012 to August 2015 — thousands of drug screenings run on Russian athletes. The database, which the Russian authorities were unwilling to share with antidoping investigators, arrived through a whistleblower.
 Head of Russian Ski Association has told the press that "whistleblowers are traitors to their country" shortly thereafter.
 Russia's ski team coach went even further and accused
Ilia Chernousov (a skier who won a bronze medal in
50 km event and might be upgraded to gold after disqualifications) of "leaking information" to WADA.
On 11 November 2017 it was revealed that Grigory Rodchenkov had provided new evidence of Russian state-sponsored doping to the IOC, noting that he will consider to go public if the Schmid Commission does not give due weight to his evidence in any public findings.
On 16 November 2017 WADA announced that Russia remained non-compliant with its Code.
 On 26 November 2017
IAAF decided to maintain Russia's ban from international
track and field competitions, saying the country had not done enough to tackle doping.
In an interview with the
New York Times
Rodchenkov has told that Yuri Nagornykh, the deputy minister of sport, had asked him to incriminate a Ukrainian athlete,
Vita Semerenko, during a competition in
Moscow leading up to the
Olympics. Rodchenkov did not comply, convincing the minister that a retest of the drug sample would show the drugs had been spiked into the sample rather than passed through a human body. “I could not have done this to an innocent athlete,” he said. “During my career, I reported many Dirty Samples as clean, but never the other way around.”.
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. The Olympic Flag and
Olympic Anthem will be used instead, and on 20 December 2017 the IOC proposed an alternate logo for the uniforms (seen at right).
 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."
In the past,
Vladimir Putin and other officials have said it would be a humiliation for Russia if its athletes are not allowed to compete under the Russian flag.
 However, his spokesman later said no boycott has been discussed.
 After the IOC decision was announced, the head of
Ramzan Kadyrov announced that no
Chechen athletes will participate under a neutral flag.
 On 6 December, Putin stated that the Russian government will not "prevent" any athletes from participating at the Games as "individuals," but there were calls for boycott from other politicians.
On 7 December 2017 it was reported that Russian oligarch
Mikhail Prokhorov paid a Russian Olympic athlete millions of rubles in hush money not to reveal Russia’s elaborate doping scheme. Prokhorov had run the
Russian Biathlon Union from 2008 to 2014 and offered legal services to disqualified Russian biathletes.