After fleeing from Russia

Doping Whistleblower Dmitriev in Germany

/By Hajo Seppelt and Sebastian Münster

After fleeing from Russia and a six-month odyssey through several countries, the doping whistleblower Andrey Dmitriev has arrived in Germany and, according to his own statements, wants to remain in the country for the time being.

The 27-year-old has fled his homeland at the beginning of the year for fear of his own safety. Since the beginning of this month, Dmitriev has been staying in the southwest of Germany. “Now I feel safe”, says the whistleblower. In an interview with the ARD doping editorial team in January 2017 the ex-athlete, who competed for Russia as a runner in the 1500 metre discipline, openly accused the Russian Athletics Federation of ignoring doping-sanctions. He backed up his claims with secretly shot footage. The material was broadcast by the ARD-Sportschau.

The recordings showed the successful coach Vladimir Kazarin, who, despite being banned by the Russian athletics federation RusAF, had continued to work unscathed with the country's top athletes. At that time, the national Russian Federation was already banned by the IAAF World Athletics Association due to revelations of the ARD and was the subject of an investigation by an IAAF committee.

“I want to start studying in Germany”

Dmitriev, who initially wanted to stay in Russia and actively advocate a clean sport, had lost his athlete scholarship shortly after his accusations became known and, according to his own statements, was forced to leave the country because of an increasingly hostile atmosphere towards himself. The 27-year-old believes that he will not be able to return in the near future. “I want to start studying in Germany”, said the former athlete of the Russian junior national squad. “Or I'll finish my college degree in the United States.” Dmitriev has lived in the U. S. for five years.

Andrey Dmitriev now hardly believes in a general change to a clean Russian sport. “There, the Russian athlete's ban is still widely regarded as a conspiracy, in which Russia is being used as a scapegoat”, said Dmitriev. An informed discussion about the extent of doping in Russian sports and its Federation is at best on the sidelines in the national media.