LONDON (AP) — Olympic historian David Miller put several questions to Russian President Vladimir Putin related to both the Olympics and the country's doping situation. Miller then gave the transcript to The Associated Press for publication.
Miller, who submitted the questions to Putin while on a recent visit to Russia, is the author of "The Official History of the Olympic Games and the IOC."
The following is the transcript of written answers by Putin to Miller:
Question: Might Moscow contemplate a bid for 2028 (Olympics)?
Putin: "I would rather speak of Russia generally, not necessarily about Moscow. Apart from the capital of our country, we have a number of cities which could potentially host Summer Olympics. There is Sochi, of course, but also St. Petersburg and possibly Kazan. We are not going to make any specific statements, yet. In 2014, our country successfully hosted the Winter Games in Sochi. However, I do not rule out the possibility that Russia will decide to enter in bidding process for the right to host another Olympics.
"Regarding Los Angeles, it is not for us to estimate the city's chances. This must be done by the IOC. USA is one of the leading sports countries in the world, and I believe had good chance of getting the honor of hosting the games. It is well known that LA hosted the games in 1984 and the USSR team unfortunately did not participate - just like the U.S. team which did not come to Moscow in 1980. No-one benefited from this."
Question: In Russia's cultural, social and political global relationships, how important is return to the front line of Olympic competition and international prominence?
Putin: "Russia always has been, and I hope always will be, one of the leading international sports countries. What kind of return to the front line are we talking about? Our athletes still produce great results in international competition, set new records and win gold medals. Yes, like any country, we might have experienced certain ups and downs with regard to results, but in no way does this cast any doubt on Russia's status as one of the leading countries in sport.
"You know, I always had a problem when someone was trying to place sport in social and political context. Sport is a separate and unique kind of human activity, which functions under its own rules and principles. It has nothing to do with the political agenda, and neither it should. When politics interferes with sport, unjust things happen, like the story of Russia's Paralympic athletes who were banned from international competition where they have a right to participate like anyone else.
"Once it became clear that our Paralympians would miss the Rio Games through no fault of their own, I decided to meet with the athletes. My goal was to support them, to have a simple talk with them. Once the meeting was over, I was particularly proud for these people, because it was evident that they will not give up - they will stand up to the challenge."
Question: How confident are you that both Russian athletes and Russian society will acknowledge and support the necessity for strict anti-doping compliance - provided WADA is effective worldwide?
Putin: "We are currently developing a completely new system in the fight against doping in Russia. We have established an Independent Public Anti-Doping Commission. The Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA and the (testing) laboratory are no longer controlled by the state and the Ministry of Sport, but gaining full autonomy - just like in many other countries. I believe that positive processes which we have started, to reform anti-doping structures, are irreversible. We must listen to what WADA has to say, because we have to admit that we have several cases of proven doping violation. This is unacceptable. We will do everything to organize efficient and fruitful work with all our partners, including WADA and the IOC. I hope they have the same intentions.
"At the same time, it is important to understand that the international anti-doping system is not perfect. This fact is admitted by the leaders of the Olympic Movement. One of the most serious issues is therapeutic use exemption (TUEs). We do not want sport to become competition between different kinds of stimulators, most of which are highly dangerous for athletes' health, do we? Russia is ready for an open and consistent participation in work to establish an accomplished global anti-doping system. Once again, I would like to reiterate something that we have always stated: Russia never had, and I hope never will have, a state-backed system of doping support. On the contrary - we will fight doping."
Question: In recognition of the threat to global public affection for Olympic sport caused by doping offences in many countries, might Russia consider offering a donation to WADA to extend scrutiny facilities to ensure fair competition?
Putin: "As I said, we are open for co-operation with the IOC, WADA and other international organizations who can assist us in developing our own new anti-doping system. In fact, we believe that we can launch the system only in successful collaboration with WADA and the IOC. In our relations with WADA, we adhere, and will continue doing so, to the principles and rules of this organization, including financial obligations toward the Olympic Movement."