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Is Russia is playing roulette with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) by refusing to allow a team into the controversial Moscow Laboratory that is at the centre of the systematic doping scandal? Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) director general Yury Ganus has warned the decision to deny an inspection team access to the Moscow Laboratory could be “devastating”.

The team visited Moscow this week to recover data from the facility which was the centre of the Russian drugs crisis.

According to the publication, Inside the Games, “Access to the building before Dec. 31 was a compulsory condition set when WADA’s Executive Committee controversially lifted the suspension of RUSADA on Sept. 20, but it was announced yesterday that their five-strong party had left the country empty-handed.

As a stalling tactic, Russian authorities said that the equipment that the team had planned to use for the data extraction was not been certified under the country’s law.

The Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) and the underlying raw data stored at the facility is required to find out how deep the Russian systematic doping went – if one can believe it was deeper and broader than already indicated.

“The decision to block their team, which was headed by independent expert Dr. José Antonio Pascual, has been widely condemned and RUSADA now face suspension again,”  said a release from Inside the Games.

The WADA Independent Compliance Review Committee is due to meet on January 14 and 15 with the body saying they are prepared to return to Russia if the situation is resolved “expeditiously”.

On the one hand, Russia is stalling as an ulterior motive, either to plant political landmines in the committee’s path or to buy time in the hopes of surreptitiously removing the data before they get to it.

Russia’s tactics evoke a little of the battle of Smolensk during the French invasion of Russia in 1812 when the Russians retreated, burning their own buildings and crops, so the French could not advance living off of Russian supplies.