Voices from Russia

Saturday, 25 February 2017

The Liars Fold: Russia Vindicated Once Again

00 Paralympics. 10.09.12. Gold Medal

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Surprise, surprise… the International Olympic Committee (IOC) lamented there’s “insufficient” evidence of Russian doping. We live for these moments. As they say in America:

A lie gets halfway to Wal-Mart before the truth has a chance to put its Crocs on.

Yes, it’s finally happened. The truth finally caught up with the World Anti-Doping Agency and its International Olympic Committee pals. The IOC admitted that Richard McLaren’s 2016 report on the alleged use of doping by Russian athletes “isn’t sufficient to bring successful cases”. Christophe de Kepper, director-general and member of the IOC Executive Board said in a letter to the organisation:

At the recent meeting (21 February) held by WADA in Lausanne to “provide assistance to IFs [International Federations] regarding how to analyse and interpret the evidence”, WADA admitted that in many cases the evidence provided may not be sufficient to bring successful cases.

Finally, justice… and just in time to allow all Russian athletes to take part in the Rio games…oh, wait. Based on the first part of McLaren’s report published on 18 June 2016, which presented the results of his investigation into alleged doping at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, WADA recommended that the IOC, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), and all international sporting federations exclude Russia from their competitions. Consequently, the IOC banned the entire Russian Paralympian team from the Rio games. We could spend all day dissecting the McLaren report, but it’s clear that the IOC has already accepted reality… it’s a bad, bad, bad, poorly done politically motivated hit job. If you want the details, you can read this or this or this. Mark Chapman nailed it back in August:

Bullshit. From start to finish. No western athlete would have to put up with a ban on competing just because he or she was American or Canadian or Dutch, and he or she would damned sure not be told to accept a ban where he or she had not even seen the evidence against him or her because it was secret. The McLaren Report doesn’t prove anything it purports to prove, and it won’t stand up to a challenge.

Bingo.

25 February 2017

Matthew Allen

Russian Insider

http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/liars-fold-russia-vindicated-once-again/ri19037   

Friday, 7 March 2014

Putin Sez “Paralympians are People of Extraordinary Character”

00 Order of Honour. Russia. Paralympics recipients. 09.12

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00.00i Paralympics 2012. 01.09.12

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Editor’s Foreword:

I checked this against some Russian sources and made minor changes. I wanted you to have the full impact of President Putin’s “take” on this.

BMD

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Interviewer:

From the point of view of the public and media, the London Paralympics was a breakthrough. According to the audience ratings, its popularity was no less than of the Olympic Games. Will Sochi 2014 be able to open a new chapter in history?

Putin: 

Let’s start with the fact that UK is the birthplace of the Paralympic Games. We should thank Ludwig Guttmann, a talented neurosurgeon from the English town of Stoke Mandeville, who held the first sporting event for disabled people. He worked in rehabilitating patients with spinal cord injuries, mostly veterans of the Second World War; he proved that sport and physical activity help patients to recover, to believe in themselves and in their strength, and to return to normal life. In 1948, Guttmann organised the Stoke-Mandeville Barrier Games that became the prototype of the Paralympics. Our country took part in the Paralympic Games since the 1980s, and it has good and strong traditions, especially in cross-country skiing and ice sledge hockey. We’ve also showed good results in curling and downhill skiing.

In general, Paralympic sport and its remarkable athletes are attracting more and more attention. The athletes themselves have done much to draw attention to and popularise the Paralympic Games; their success is remarkable. We have no doubt that the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi will find an audience. In addition, we’ll intensively broadcast these events. The Russian company “Panorama”, specifically created for the Games in Sochi, will offer international television coverage of the Paralympic Games. Taking into consideration its outstanding work broadcasting the Olympics, I’m sure that it’ll show the Paralympics  in all its intensity, in all its competition, in no less bright and full colours. The TV audience of London Games exceeded 3.5 billion people. It’s important to strive for similar results, but not for the sake of statistics. Paralympic competition can have a most powerful positive impact on society, on people’s minds. Determined Paralympic athletes literally share their energy; they show each of us what it means to be purposeful, to have a winning personality, what it actually means to be honest and have a dynamic view on life. In brief, I urge everyone to visit and watch the Paralympics in Sochi and to follow it in the media.

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00 Paralympics. 10.09.12. Gold Medal

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00.0e Paralympics. Putin. 11.09.12

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Interviewer:

In many countries, Paralympians complain about the lack of support from the public and businesses. In Russia, the state actively supports sport for disabled people. Could we strengthen it further, for instance, through promoting it in business circles?

Putin: 

In most places, Paralympic sport developed largely due to government support. we implemented a range of measures that really contributed to the success of our Paralympians, starting from improving their health and logistics, up to an increase in state payments based on performance at international competitions. Let me remind you, before 2008, state payments for Paralympians and Deaflympians were less than those for Olympians. That wasn’t fair… today, athletes that represent Russia at the Olympics, Paralympics, and Deaflympics receive the same awards… for a gold medal, they get 4 million roubles (110,000 USD. 122,000 CAD. 122,000 AUD. 80,000 Euros. 66,000 UK Pounds), for a silver, they get 2.5 million roubles (69,000 USD. 76,000 CAD. 76,000 AUD. 50,000 Euros. 42,000 UK Pounds), and for a bronze, they get 1.7 million roubles (47,000 USD. 52,000 CAD. 52,000 AUD. 34,000 Euros. 28,000 UK Pounds). Since 2012, we’ve increased payments based on results gained in performance at World and European championships.

In addition, we’ve increased the number of monthly Presidential grants from 500 to 700, which we award for special achievement to athletes, coaches, and other specialists on our Paralympic and Deaflympics teams. At the same time, we’ve increased the amount of such grants from 15,000 to 32,000 roubles (414 to 883 USD. 456 to 970 CAD. 456 to 970 AUD. 300 to 637 Euros. 247 to 527 UK Pounds) a month. If we were to talk about the support of our Paralympic teams by business and community organisations, I’m sure that’ll increase with each passing year. Over the past decade, we’ve seen a dramatic change in the attitude towards disabled people. By the way, the success of our Paralympians contributed greatly to the growing popularity of the Paralympic Movement.

Interviewer:

Do you think that the Paralympic Games will attract more disabled people to take up sport? If so, how will the state support their growing needs?

Putin: 

I’d like to remind that a key mission of the Paralympic Movement is to increase an interest in sport and to help disabled people integrate fully in the life of society. I’m sure that Paralympics in Sochi will contribute to carry out these tasks further, will involve more disabled people in sport, and bring more to train. In general, we want to help them build confidence in themselves, in their own strength and abilities. The most striking achievement of our Paralympians is their will to win; they set a heroic standard… that disabled people can have active, full, and successful lives. Of course, there’s still a lot that we must do in Russia to ensure that sport infrastructure is available for such citizens and we’ll continue to create multi-use sports facilities, improve training of teachers in adaptive physical education, so that disabled people have equal opportunities for sport and self-realisation.

Special programmes like “Development of Physical Culture and Sports” and “Accessible Environment” do a lot of work in this direction. Largely due to implementing these programs, in the last three years, the number of disabled people engaged in sport doubled in Russia, it now exceeds 500,000 people. We’ve set a goal to create conditions so that by 2020 2.5 million disabled people will be able to exercise regularly. To promote physical education and sport among young disabled people, we’ll hold nation-wide contests in the various sports in the Paralympic and Deaflympics programmes. During the summer Spartakiad in 2011, 1,257 athletes from 56 federal subjects took part, in the winter Spartakiad of 2013, 475 athletes from 38 federal subjects competed. The next Spartakiad is due in 2015, and the necessary preparations for it are already underway.

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00.00e 04.09.12 Paralympics 2012. Aleksei Ashapatov

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00.0a Paralympics. Putin. 11.09.12

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Interviewer:

Sochi will be the first city with a fully accessible environment for the disabled; there are plans in the near future to ensure full accessibility in Moscow. What should we do to ensure this accessibility across Russia?

Putin: 

The setup of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Sochi actually set new standards for modern urban planning based on creating accessible spaces for disabled people. Both residents and many visitors appreciated it. I’d point up that Russia ratified the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities in 2008. We’re trying to set up a so-called barrier-free environment, aimed to give a full and equal access to disabled people and people with limited mobility to engineering, transport, and social infrastructure, to means of communication is now developing all over the country as part of the state programme “Accessible Environment”. We started its implementation in 2011, providing it significant resources, more than 180 billion roubles (4.97 billion USD. 5.46 billion CAD. 5.46 billion AUD. 3.58 billion Euros. 2.97 billion UK Pounds).Of course, we have to do a lot of work here, because, essentially, we’re only at the beginning, but we can already see the first results. For example, we see it in our making sports facilities accessible, in developing adaptive physical education and sports. Currently, this kind of institution is present in 40 federal subjects, and by the end of 2015, they’ll appear in 13 more. Youth sports schools opened profile departments in 26 federal subjects. In addition, by the end of 2015, we plan to prepare more than 1,400 professionals capable of providing professional training services.

Interviewer:

How might the Paralympic Games influence people’s attitude towards the disabled, to make a change towards more acceptance? Shall it give disabled people a shot at real equality? Do you think that the Paralympics will become a symbol of the growth of acceptance?

Putin: 

The very appearance of the Paralympics radically changed the public’s perception of disabled people. They broke down existing stereotypes; they maintain that a person’s real power lies within them, in their ability to overcome any difficulty. Guttmann started competitions between disabled people for medical and rehabilitation purposes, but they turned into a sporting event of international level. In emotions and level of struggle, they’re in no way inferior to any other competition. Therefore, I’m sure, the popularity and interest in the Paralympics will grow. Moreover, this is very important. The example of the Paralympians, their courage and dignity, inspire us, give us hope, and change our lives for the better. The immense humanistic potential of the Paralympic movement has no equal in the moral education of society and of our youth, in establishing principles of equal opportunities, in creating conditions so that everyone can fulfil their personal, creative, and professional capabilities, and for a secure and decent life for all citizens without exception.

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00.01a Russian Paralympians. 08.12. Putin. Moscow

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00 Patriarch Kirill with Russian athletes. 11.10.12

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Interviewer:

The Russian Paralympic team always performs very well. What do you expect from the Russian athletes in Sochi?

Putin: 

It’s not good to think too far ahead, especially, in sport, where there’s a chance of accidents, and other things beyond the control of the athletes. However, Russia, of course, has reason to believe in the victory of our Paralympic team. In the past qualifying season, they won first place in the unofficial team standings and did it with a very good margin over the nearest competitors. Our Russian Paralympic team has always pleased the fans. Let’s remember the last Winter Paralympics in Turin in 2008. We took first place in the team standings, as well as in Vancouver in 2010, where we were second in the number of gold medals won, but we were first in the total number of medals. I want to note that the Russian Paralympic team in Vancouver participated in only three out of five types of sports, where 31 athlete performed. For Sochi, we’ve prepared a team of 64 people; we’ll compete for six types out of 72 sets of medals. Amongst them are biathlon, skiing, wheelchair curling, ice sledge hockey, and para-snowboard, which is a new programme for the Paralympic Winter Games. Therefore, there’s much hope for another victory. Our athletes are ready. The main thing left is good luck and support from our fans.

Interviewer:

Do you personally know any Paralympians? What do you consider the most impressive thing about them?

Putin: 

What’s most impressive in people that’re able to overcome the most difficult, sometimes tragic, conditions, not merely to learn to live in a new environment, within new physical limitations, but also to achieve success? Of course, it’s their personal courage, dedication, and tremendous strength of spirit and will. There are enough examples of quite healthy successful people, who come across not so significant everyday problems, but they just go limp and give up. In contrast, the story of each Paralympian is a story of victory over oneself, over illness, over difficult circumstances. It really can’t leave anyone apathetic. I’ve met Paralympians many times, and I can confirm that Paralympians are people of extraordinary character, with a special toughness. We can all learn from their attitude towards life, towards themselves, and towards the outside world.

6 March 2014

Voice of Russia World Service

http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_03_06/Paralympians-are-people-of-special-nature-toughness-Putin-8166/

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Thursday, 13 September 2012

Russian Paralympians Getting Ready for Rio Paralympics in 2016

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Russian athletes are starting to prepare for the next Paralympics. Two-time Paralympic champion Olesya Vladykina and four-time Paralympic champion Sergei Punko are dreaming to leave for Rio de Janeiro in 2016. The gold medal winners at the London Games shared their plans for the next four years. They didn’t rest after their triumphal performances in London, but they’re starting preparations for the next Games. If they want to stay on Team Russia, they’ll have to go through four years of persistent training and compete at international competitions. Only the strongest will make the team. Two-time Paralympic swimming champion Olesya Vladykina believes that, despite her having won gold, silver, and bronze medals, she’ll have to compete with young, but potentially strong, swimmers if she wants to be on Team Russia once again. She said, “They’ll make no concessions. If I make this mad choice, it’ll be my third Paralympics. I’ll take part only in the standard events. I’d like to go to Rio de Janeiro, as it’s a very beautiful city. I’ve already been there. The selection of athletes has become tougher. The main task of the experienced and the young sportsmen is to make the national team. We’re competing for a place on the team at the same level”.

The athletes are expecting no concessions for them at the selection. This is real sport and only the strongest win. Russian athletes hope to push the Chinese sportsmen off the podium. Sergei Punko, who won a full set of medals in London in different swimming events, said, “Practically every Russian athlete who won gold set a world record. We’ll hardly be able to top this year’s list in the quantity of medals, but we can up the quality. There’s a need to do a lot of work and promote Paralympic sports throughout the country. If we can do this, we’ll win more medals”.

Victory isn’t the main thing for Paralympic athletes. In every event, they showed the world that they have unlimited capabilities. As compared to the past, the attitude towards them has significantly improved. This is the main victory. At present, some of the Paralympians are taking part in ad campaigns. Olesya Vladykina, who lost an arm in an auto accident, said, “Before the London Games, I was asked if I’d be photographed for glamour magazines, a project which wasn’t accessible to Paralympic sportsmen in the past. People receive us, understand us, and are ready to see us, and we’re respected and admired. This is great. Paralympic sportsmen have many things to teach people and make them think. I’d like to see that people don’t turn away from us”.

People don’t turn away from them, of course. At the London Games, practically all the events were full of fans. Thousands of people came to support the athletes. The Paralympians said that they’d never seen such an attitude. Such an active support shocked the athletes in the beginning, but later, it helped them to win medals.

13 September 2012

Aleksandra Zakharova

Voice of Russia World Service

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_09_13/Russian-athletes-start-preparing-for-the-Rio-de-Janeiro-Paralympics/

Editor’s Note:

I’ve ENJOYED covering the Paralympics… these people are great athletes. They’re not “Special Olympians”… they’re not “disabled athletes” (although they ARE disabled)… they’re athletes whose performance is well above the median. I’d challenge any of my readers to bench-press as much as Vlad Balunets does, toss the shot-put as far as Aleksei Ashapatov does, or to outswim Olesya Vladykina. Trust me… the people named are top-flight athletes, period. That’s why the Russian state pays them the same bonus as they do for Olympians winning the same medal; that’s why Paralympians are part of the Unified Sport Classification System (both Aleksei Ashapatov and Olesya Vladykina are Honoured Masters of Sport).

If the USA doesn’t get serious, trust me, the Big Red Chinese machine and the Team Russia steamroller will crush them in Rio. China and Russia are serious about supporting their Paralympians. What does that tell you about the USA? As I said in an earlier post, “This ain’t no sorry-ass Special Olympics”. If the US government doesn’t get off its arse and put some real money behind American Paralympians, well, next time, expect an even-lower showing than this year’s sixth place.

BMD

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

12 September 2012. VOR Presents… President Putin Honoured the “Golden” Paralympians

The Team Russia Paralympians returned to the motherland on the evening of 10 September. Friends, family, and fans met the athletes at Sheremetyevo International Airport. In the image above, Vladimir Lukin (centre), the President of the Russian Paralympic Committee, spoke at short ceremony welcoming our sportsmen home.

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Team Russia took second place in the unofficial national standings at the Paralympics in London as its members won 102 medals, 36 gold, 38 silver, and 28 bronze. In the image above, we see cyclist Svetlana Moshkovich at the welcoming ceremony for the Team Russia Paralympians at Sheremetyevo International Airport.

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42 Team Russia sportsmen won medals at the games. In the image above, we see three-time track champion Yelena Ivanova (right) at the welcoming ceremony at Sheremetyevo International Airport.

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Runner Aleksei Labzin, who won two gold and one silver, at the welcoming ceremony at Sheremetyevo International Airport.

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Three-time gold-winning Paralympic champion runner Yevgeni Shvetsov (centre) at the welcoming ceremony at Sheremetyevo International Airport.

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Paralympic champion swimmer Honoured Master of Sport Olesya Vladykina (right) at the welcoming ceremony at Sheremetyevo International Airport.

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Three-time Paralympic gold- and silver-medallist in track Margarita Goncharova (left) at the welcoming ceremony at Sheremetyevo International Airport.

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On Tuesday, 11 September, at the Aleksandrovsky Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace, President Vladimir Putin presented state awards to honour Russian Paralympians who won gold medals at the Games in London. Honoured Master of Sport and Order of Honour holder Aleksei Ashapatov holds the Russian flag. The Paralympians received the same financial rewards from the state for medals as the Olympians did.

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In summing up the performance of our Russian athletes in London, President Putin said, “They demonstrated the utmost panache. It was, indeed, a great success, a veritable achievement”.

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President Putin with Honoured Master of Sport Aleksei Ashapatov, Paralympic Champion and holder of the Order of Honour.

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President Putin awarded the Order of Honour to five athletes (Aleksei Ashapatov already holds it for his efforts at the Beijing Paralympics), and he gave another 37 athletes the Order of Friendship. Here, the President talks with Order of Honour recipient Yelena Pautova.

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Members of the Team Russia Paralympic football squad presented President Putin with his own futbolka (football shirt).

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11 September 2012

Voice of Russia World Service

RT TV

http://rus.ruvr.ru/photoalbum/87887881/87888764/

http://rt.com/sport/putin-russia-paralympics-london-860/

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