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At the same time, the IOC intends to respect the rights of clean athletes, allowing them to participate in the upcoming games as "Olympic Athletes of Russian Federation".

There is a clear political context in relation to WADA's decision and the measure outlined yesterday by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in favor of taking "clean" Russian athletes to the Winter Olympics in South Korea under the neutral flag of that institution.

Many Russians had earlier taken to Twitter to express outrage over the International Olympic Committee decision, tweeting under the hashtag "no Russia, no games".

As well as being deputy prime minister, Mutko is president of the Russian football federation and has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. It is yet unclear who will bear the expenses related to the participation of Russian athletes in the 2018 Olympic Games, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

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At the State Kremlin Palace on December 1, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said at a joint news conference with Mutko that the IOC's decision would not affect the World Cup. "This is why we say that it is too early for emotional displays, while a lot of work should be done with the International Olympic Committee to clarify all these questions", the Russian presidential spokesman said.

The country's athletics federation and anti-doping agency were suspended over a separate WADA report in 2015 containing evidence of state-backed doping in track and field.

"It's very hard to take accusations and punishments".

Bach said he hoped those attending would "represent a new generation of clean Russian athletes in the Games and build a bridge into a clean future of Russian sport".

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"I strongly suspect the total number of tests will be 20,000 by the time we get to the Games themselves", said Richard Budgett, IOC Medical and Scientific Director. "First and foremost you need to protect athletes", - quoted Mutko "Federal news Agency". "This is sport, damn it!" he added. "We supported athletes who made a decision to compete under a neutral flag before and we are doing the same now".

Olympic gold-medallist gymnast Svetlana Khorkina, now a ruling party MP, told Sport Express: "What have we come to?"

Rodchenkov has been living in hiding in the United States since lifting the lid on the intricate workings of a state-supported doping scheme at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

We work with our own doping cases, but we will never recognize the lies about our sports system spread by WADA, as one of the conditions that they demand from us to allow our delegation to travel to South Korea, Medvedev said.

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Pro-Kremlin media focused on discrediting Grigory Rodchenkov, the whistleblower who gave evidence of a state-controlled doping programme in which he played a central role. Membership the head of the Russian Olympic Committee Alexander Zhukov, the IOC suspended.

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