Jurij Ganus has lost his position as Rusada bossPhoto: DIMITAR DILKOFF / AFP
He learned about his dismissal from the media: Jurij Ganus is no longer head of the Russian anti-doping agency Rusada. This was announced on Friday by the country's national Olympic and Paralympic committee, the founders of the organization. "This decision is not justified by anything," Ganus told SPIEGEL. "It will have serious consequences for Russian sport and athletes, it is about the independence of the Rusada," he warned.
He denied the allegations against himself. "I have a clear conscience, we have always worked cleanly and honestly." He was disappointed that Russia was not unifying to build a "real anti-doping system", but continued working against each other. With "one" Ganus means the officials of the sports associations and the officials in the country. He had repeatedly attacked them in public, accusing them of doing too little in the fight against doping.
The official reason for Ganus' release are allegations of corruption - in Russia, however, a popular excuse to get rid of critics. Three years ago, the former Minister of Economic Affairs Alexej Ulyukayev, who was sentenced to eight years in a camp, was hit.
The allegations against Ganus are dubious. The Rusada supervisory board, consisting of a total of seven members, representatives of the committees, the sports ministry, athletes, experts from the Wada, a former cosmonaut, identified "significant irregularities in financial and economic activities" after a special audit at the beginning of August with 6 to 1 votes Organization firmly.
It is then about allegedly forged signatures on contracts, taxi receipts for 154,000 dollars and supposedly vacations disguised as business trips. Overall, Rusada spending of $ 1.5 million should not be plausible.
The allegations against the Rusada leadership were first spread over a Telegram channel in July, and Ganus reacted to them immediately. He saw something like this coming, he said at the time. He vehemently denies the allegations, "I have nothing to blame". He published a 68-page statement, which was not taken into account by the Supervisory Board. One of his alleged vacation trips led to the Inado in Lausanne. He has always made the costs transparent, says the former economic manager, they have increased because the activities of the Rusada have grown. "Unfortunately Russia is in a doping crisis, we are fighting doping, that is our job," said Ganus.
More doping tests were taken from athletes: while it was 9,000 in 2018, the Rusada reported 11,000 samples a year later. This increased travel costs, and according to Ganus, the inspectors also transported the samples to the laboratories by taxi. In addition, Ganus said that he, his deputy and employees traveled a lot in the regions of Russia and abroad to present the work and reforms in the anti-doping authority. He also rejects the forgery of documents: nobody has ever forged papers, all original documents can be viewed.
Personal initiative of the head of the Olympic Committee
According to information from SPIEGEL, the dismissal was mainly due to Stanislaw Pozdnjakow, head of the Olympic Committee. "That was a personal matter," says someone who knows what goes on in Russian sport well. His daughter, a fencer, waswas once admonished by the Rusada for missing a doping test.It was also Pozdnjakov who first appeared in front of the media with the allegations against Ganus.
The Olympic Committee had wanted to get rid of Ganus for a long time. The influential organization is a founding member of the Rusada alongside the Russian Paralympic Committee. The leadership is very annoyed by Ganus, too loud, the 56-year-old also appears too critical in public abroad, one of the committee tells SPIEGEL, who prefers to remain anonymous. There they now believe that they can replace Ganus with someone who will continue his course, but who are less harsh in saying that they want peace and quiet - the committee considers the international consequences of Ganus' dismissal to be manageable.
According to SPIEGEL information, Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin tried to mediate to keep Ganus in office. But he failed. His deputy Margarita Pachnotskaya also goes with Ganus. The Rusada supervisory board wanted her to stay, she refused. He will not take legal action against the decision to release him, said Ganus.
The institute of the national anti-doping authorities Inado, an association of agencies from 67 countries, had already expressed itself very critically three weeks ago regarding the threatened dismissal of Ganus. Inado boss Jorge Leyva spoke of the fact that the Rusada would be pilloried in this way. The head of the World Anti-Doping Agency Wada, Witold Banka, also asked for clarification and answers. But there weren't any.
Read a portrait of Jurij Ganus here.
The most important questions and answers about the Wada decision can be found here.
The chronology of the Russian doping scandal can be found here.
Discredits and threats
A kind of campaign against Ganus has been running for weeks in state and state-related media, including his wife, from whom he lives separately. "You want to get rid of me, pour dirt over me," he said at the beginning of August. He continues to receive threats. It even went so far that he wrote on Twitter: "I officially declare that I love life and will not commit suicide." Two former Rusada executives had allegedly died of heart failure.
Ganus made headlines again and again, and not just because he turned to President Vladimir Putin directly and asked him for help in the fight against doping. At the beginning of October last year, Ganus made public (read the SPIEGEL interview here) that Russia had deleted and changed control data from athletes from a Moscow anti-doping laboratory a thousand times in early 2019. And that at a time when the information should have been handed over to Wada long ago.
The World Anti-Doping Agency later confirmed this after an investigation, and also stated that the records had been changed in such a way that the key witness of the Russian doping scandal, the former head of the anti-doping laboratory Grigory Rodchenkov, was supposed to be a liar.
In December of last year, the Wada imposed a four-year ban on Russia, whose athletes flying the Russian flag are not allowed to take part in the Olympics or a World Cup for four years. Moscow appealed against this decision. At the beginning of November the International Sports Court Cas wants to meet on the matter.
The current Rusada lawyer, Mikhail Buchanov, will take over from Ganus for the coming months. "In fact, the Rusada has now been beheaded," says sports advisor Andrei Mitkov, who worked for the Ministry of Sports for a long time. "This decision takes the agency a step back." It will now be very difficult to establish contacts with the Wada and other international organizations. "Ganus and Pachnotskaya had these connections. They had real authority."
Collaboration: Alexander ChernyshevIcon: The mirror