Russian Federation banned from 2018 Winter Games following doping allegations

According to the IOC, Russia's Olympic team won't be able to attend the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea this coming February, nor will their flag or anthem be on display or played during the opening ceremony. However no announcement has yet been made by the country's president, Vladimir Putin, or the Russian Olympic Committee.

Individuals who can prove they are clean will be invited to participate under a neutral flag and referred to as "Olympic athletes from Russia".

The IOC also imposed a lifetime Olympic ban on Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, the organizer of soccer's 2018 World Cup, and imposed a fine of $15 million on the Russian Olympic committee.

BC-OLY-IOC-Russian Doping, 4th Ld-Writethru, 545IOC: Russians can compete at Olympics, but without flagAP Photo FOS114, FOS120, FOS129, FOS113, FOS112Eds: Minor edits. But the Russian flag won't fly and the anthem won't be played if they win.

A 17-month doping investigation headed up by former Swiss president Samuel Schmid found there was "the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system in Russian Federation".

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"I very much regret that the International Olympic Committee made such a unusual decision", Mikhail Fedotov, chairman of the Presidential Council on Human Rights, told Interfax on Tuesday.

The conclusions of the Schmid Report, on both factual and legal aspects, confirmed "the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system in Russian Federation, through the Disappearing Positive Methodology and during the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014, as well as the various levels of administrative, legal and contractual responsibility, resulting from the failure to respect the respective obligations of the various entities involved".

Athletes may get dispensation to compete by a panel that will consider the athletes' prior drug testing results.

Banning an entire country from the Games is an unprecedented move for the IOC.

Ahead of the IOC's decision, NPR's Lucian Kim visited Moscow's famous Gorky Park to hear what Russians are making of the claims against their country in some of its most revered sports.

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More than 20 athletes have been banned for life from the Olympics in the past weeks over alleged doping violations at the 2014 Sochi Games.

The suspension follows a report of findings by the International Olympic Committee, led by the former President of Switzerland, Samuel Schmid, that address the systematic manipulation of the anti-doping system in Russian Federation. Instead, it gave criteria about the eligibility of athletes and left the decisions to the global federations that govern each sport.

Should Russia boycott the decision, it would mark the first time it has missed the Olympics since boycotting in 1984.

The commission based its findings on an independent report by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren that was commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency and published previous year.

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