Doping Whistleblower Dmitriev fled from Russia 

"I feel safe for now"

Doping Whistleblower Dmitriev fled from Russia 

Von Hajo Seppelt

Whistleblower Andrey Dmitriev has left his homecountry Russia after he had been threatened. talked to him.

Whistleblower Andrey Dmitriev has left his homecountry Russia after he had been threatened. talked to him.

Andrey Dmitriev, you have left Russia this week and are now staying in a country far away from home - like the Stepanovs. Why did you decide to leave Russia? 

It was not my plan to leave my country when I was giving ARD an interview in January. I don't regret anything from what I said. It was necessary to speak up against the doping culture in Russia. People have to raise their voice, otherwise there will be never a real cultural change in russian sports. But having seen what happened with me in the meantime I had to realize that it is better to leave. I feel safe for now. It was necessary that I fled. 

What happened since January?

Many saw my interview and the evidence that I provided in a negative sense. They called me a traitor, a liar, and - excuse my language please - they poured tons of shit on me. Right after the interview I was fired from both training centers in my home town where I was getting paid my stipend as an athlete. I did believe that I will be able to change something at first, but when I saw the reaction of many Russians I realized that I had failed. Russians are not ready for the whistleblowing culture.

Did you really expect a change within such a short period of time?

At least I expected more. Immediately after my interview in ARD there was indeed a growing discussion in our country about doping in sports. But just for a very short time. I wanted other athletes to stand up and speak up, I hoped to see the national team members to speak up publicly against the old coaches and old still existing system. What people call "Russian Track and Field" is a horror. I wanted the athletes to say that I was right and that I was not lying and that the old coaches must be gone. I was expecting athletes and coaches to protect me, but they have been quite even though many supported me in private messages.

And what was the reaction in the media?

Tons of negative things was poured on me in federal TV channels. Some journalists even came to my 90+  years old grandparents and lied to them about my motivation to come forward. I had certainly endangered myself and was certainly isolated. You never know what can happen in Russia. We have the political prisoners and we have the journalists being killed all over the place. 

Have you been threatened?

It was at some time very weird. I never broke the law, but I did not ever report to the recruitment office for the army. I am now 27. They did not care about me ever since I was 18 years old, did not search for me or whatever. But suddenly they appeared - right after my interview with ARD. I am sure that this was not a coincidence.

What happened?

It was in January. For whatever reason they knew that I was at that time staying at a hostel. They came without advanced notice and tried to take away my passport, tackled me and threatened to put me in jail right now. Two of them holding me like if I was a gangster or something. They made me sign a paper saying that I will report to the recruitment office on Feb. 27. I had no choice. To go to jail would have been a purposeless heroism that nobody needs. 

Did russian investigators ask you to provide evidence?

I had to go to a investigator in Moscow just recently before I fled. I had to meet with these people against my will. It was on march 6 in the offices of the Investigation Committee of Russia. The officer - a woman - was very rude and did not listen to what I was saying, but rather started yelling at me. She interrupted me, rephrased my answers in her own words, putting it into a different context. She raised her voice and asked me: «How are you feeling now being a snitch? Do you know that in Russia we don’t like the snitches? How are you going to live with that? Does your conscious allow you to be a snitch and you are feeling fine now?» She was protecting the system, while blaming the other russian doping whistleblowers, the Stepanovs and Grigory Rodchenkov. In general, she treated me like if I was a traitor and a criminal, even though I was reporting as a witness. She also asked me how and why I contacted ARD, asked me for all contact details of ARD people, but I refused to give them to her, and she did not like that either. Finally I was forced to sign a paper. It was my words, but the words were put into a different context or they were made misleading. 

Did you get support from the new officials from the Russian Track and Field Federation (RUSAF)?

The problem is that RUSAF's highest government is not strong enough to protect me because there is the Ministry of Sport on the other hand, who is a superior governing body to RUSAF.

And the Russian Anti Doping Agency (RUSADA)?

Nothing. Yelena Isinbayeva has been elected as chair of RUSADA's supervisory board. She was always in denial and attacked WADA and western media. With her stupid public statements about conspiracy she is obviously holding Russia back. 

Have you received support by sports officials from other countries?

Yes, WADA and IAAF were in touch with me and gave me support. They said that they addressed my case to russian authorities. I don't know the outcome. But now I am out of Russia, so now I am not afraid anymore. I am willing to do anything to not return to Russia.

Das Gespräch führte Hajo Seppelt

Stand: 18.03.2017, 13:51