Skip to main content Accessibility help

Doped and disclosed: Anatomopolitics, biopower, and sovereignty in the Russian sports industry

  • Andrey Makarychev (a1) and Sergey Medvedev (a2)


In this article, we scrutinize a policy area in which the Russian government has had to react to negative publicity in the last few years, namely, the doping scandal surrounding the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. This scandal uncovered important aspects of Russia’s vulnerability in the global sports milieu, yet so far, it has remained almost unnoticed in the literature on mega sports events in Russia. Our analysis is premised on the convergence of two types and techniques of control and regulation: anatomopolitics, which presupposes, in Michel Foucault’s interpretation of the term, measures of control over individual bodies, and biopolitics, which refers to policy practices that target and concern the entire population. Their conflation in the Russian context results in a controversial effect: it strengthens relations of hegemony yet also exposes the sovereign power to the regulations of global sports organizations.


Corresponding author

Correspondence: Andrey Makarychev, Tartu Ulikool, Johan Skytte Institute of Political Science, Johan Skytte Institute of Political Science, Tartu, 50090. Email:


Hide All
1.International Olympic Committee, “Statement of the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee on the WADA independent person report,” July 19, 2016,, accessed July 5, 2019.
2.“Obraschenie general’nogo direktora RAA ‘RUSADA’ Yu.A.Ganusa k Prezidentu RF V.V. Putinu” [Address of RUDADA’s director general Yu.A.Ganus to the President of Russia V.V.Putin], December 27, 2018,, accessed March 2, 2019.
3.Zanotti, L., “Governmentality, ontology, methodology: Re-thinking political agency in the global world,” Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, 2013, 38(4): 288304, at p. 291.10.1177/0304375413512098
4.See, for example, Müller, M., “After Sochi 2014: Costs and impacts of Russia’s Olympic Games,” Eurasian Economy and Geography, 2014, 55(6): 628655.
5.Houlihan, B. and Hanstad, D. V., “The effectiveness of the World Anti-Doping Agency: Developing a framework for analysis,” International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, 2019, 11(2): 203217.10.1080/19406940.2018.1534257
6.Hoberman, J., “Funfzig Jahre Doping und die Pharmakologisierung des Alltagslebens” [Fifty Years of Doping and Pharmacologization of Everyday Life], in Hormone und Hochleistung: Doping in Ost und West [add English translation here], Latzel, Klaus and Niethammer, Lutz, eds. (Vienna: Bohlau Verlag, 2008), pp. 231243.10.7788/boehlau.9783412332969.231
7.Berendonk, F. W., “Hormonal doping and androgenization of athletes: A secret program of the German Democratic Republic government,” Clinical Chemistry, 1997, 43(7): 12621279.
8.A. Vlasov, “Sport bol’shoi i sport sovsem malen’kii” [Big sports and the smallest sport], Sport dlya Vsekh, 1998, no. 2–3: 16.
9.Kalinski, M., “State-sponsored doping system in Russia: A grand failure of the largest institutional conspiracy in history of sport,” Annals of Sports Medicine and Research, 2017, 4(4): 1116.
10.Kalinski, M., “State-sponsored research on creative supplements and blood doping in elite Soviet sport,” Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 2003, 46(3): 445451.10.1353/pbm.2003.0035
11.Russian Legal Information Agency, “CAS disqualifies Russian doctor for life over doping scandal,” March 13, 2017,, accessed March 2, 2019.
12.Quoted in Hunt, T. M., Drug Games: The International Olympic Committee and the Politics of Doping, 1960–2008 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2011), p. 66.
13.Hunt, p. 66.
14.Ageevets, V. and Orlov, R., Ekonomika fizicheskoi kultury i sporta [Economics of physical culture and sports] (Moscow: FiS, 2003), p. 9.
15.McLaren, R. H., “Independent person WADA investigation of Sochi allegations,” December 9, 2016,, accessed March 2, 2019.
16.Foucault, M., “Part five: Right of death and power over life,” in The History of Sexuality, vol. 1, An Introduction, trans. Robert Hurley (New York: Vintage Books, 1990), p. 139.
17.Foucault, p. 139.
18.“Russian/Sochi History,” March 12, 2015,, accessed March 2, 2019.
19.Schmitt, C., Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1985).
20.Agamben, G., Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1998).
21.TASS Russian News Agency, “Putin raskritikoval sportivnoe rukovodstvo RF za dopingoviy skandal,” [Putin lambasted Russian sport authorities for doping scandal], March 16, 2016,, accessed March 2, 2019.
22.“Putin uvidel sviaz’ mezhdu obvineniyami rossiyskikh sportsmenov v doping i prezidentskimi vyborami” [Putin saw a connection between doping-related accusations of Russian athletes and the presidential election], Meduza, November 9, 2017,, accessed March 2, 2019.
23.“Eks-ministr sporta Rossii Vitaliy Mutko priznal primenenie dopinga sportsmenami” [Former Sport Minister of Russia Vitaly Mutko acknowledged doping among athletes],, February 7, 2017,, accessed March 2, 2019.
24.Mutko, V., “Priznat’ lozhnuyu vinu—znachit predat’ nashikh rebyat” [Acceptance of a false guilt means betrayal], Novaya Gazeta, December 3, 2017,, accessed March 2, 2019.
25.Mutko, V., “Russia is sorry and has cleaned up its act. Please let us compete in Rio,” Sunday Times (London), May 15, 2016.
26.“LIVE: Anti-doping agency RUSADA holds press conference following accusations of doping fraud,” RT: Ruptly, November 10, 2015,, accessed March 2, 2019.
27.“Dokumenty” [Documents], Russian Anti-Doping Agency,, accessed March 2, 2019.
28.World Anti-Doping Agency, “RUSADA: Roadmap to Compliance,” August 2, 2017,, accessed July 5, 2019.
29.Bakin, Y., “Zapreshennyi Ukol: Poka rossiyan loviat no doping, evropeitsy i amerikantsy beznakazanno yego prinimanyut” [Forbidden injection: While Russians get caught doping, Europeans and Americans take it with impunity],, August 10, 2017,, accessed March 2, 2019.
30.Chen, I., “Pust’ amerikantsy pokayutsya” [Let the Americans repent], Russia Today, December 22, 2017,, accessed March 2, 2019.
31.Medvedev, S., “Russkiy resentiment” [Russian ressentiment], Otechestvennye zapiski, 2014, 6(63): 2131.
32.Chen, I., “Mutko, konechno, vinovat. No ne on odin” [Mutko is certainly guilty. But not only he], AiF, December 21, 2017,, accessed March 2, 2019.
33.“Nashi atlety pod neytral’nym flagom: predateli ili zhertvy?” [Our athletes under a neutral flag: traitors or victims?], TsarGrad TV, December 6, 2017,, accessed March 2, 2019.
34.“Kadyrov: Sportsmeny Chechni ne vystupiat pod neytral’nym flagom na Olimpiade” [Kadyrov: Chechen athletes won’t perform under neutral flag in the Olympics], Dozhd’ TV, December 6, 2017,, accessed March 2, 2019.
35.“‘Strana 404’: V Seti poteshayutsa nad poyableniem rossiyan na Olimpiade pod neytral’nym flagom” [Web users go ironic about Russian athletes appearing under neutral flag], GlavRed, February 9, 2018,, accessed March 2, 2019.
36.“Spasibo, geroi. Rossiiskiy lyzhnik otkazalsia vystupat’ na Olimpiade bez flaga i gimna Rossii” [Thank you hero. Russian skier refused to compete in the Olympics without Russian flag and anthem], TsarGrad TV, December 14, 2017,, accessed March 2, 2019.
37.“N. Kryukov” Ekhat’ na Olimpiiskie Igry pod neytral’nym flagom schitayu unizheniem” [I consider it humiliating to go to the Olympics under neutral flag],, December 7, 2017,, accessed March 2, 2019.
38.TASS Russian Information Agency, “Gde ne rodilis, tam prigodilis’: chto prinesli Rossii naturalizovannye sportsmeny” [Thy are welcomed abroad: what naturalized athletes brought to Russia], 2018,, accessed March 2, 2019.
39.Gorin, S., “Pochemu naturalizatsiya dlia Rossii eto plokho” [Why naturalization is bad for Russia],, March 27, 2017,, accessed March 2, 2019.
40.“Bolet’ za chuzhestrantsev v futbolkakh sbornoi Rossii neinteresno. Georgiy Cherdantsev—ob osobennostyakh naturalizatsii” [It is not cool to support foreigners in T-shirts of Russian national team], Match TV, February 17, 2016,, accessed March 2, 2019.
41.“Bogoslovskaya: Nuzhny li sbornoi Rossii naturalizonavvye keniytsy?” [Does Russian national team need naturalized Kenyans], Sobesednik, September 1, 2015,, accessed March 2, 2019.
42.Krylova, M., “Pravdivaya istoria: pochemu doping-skandal ne razrushil karieru i biznes Marii Sharapovoi” [True story: why doping scandal did not destroy Matia Sharapova’s career and business], Forbes, June 24, 2017,, accessed March 2, 2019.
43.Saraev, V., “Doping skandal s uchastiem Rossii” [Doping scandal with Russian participation], Vmeste-RF, March 24, 2016,, accessed March 2, 2019.
44.“Poimannye na doping rossiiskie sportsmeny vernut den’gi gosudarstvu” [Caught on doping athletes to return money to Russian state], RBK, February 3, 2015,, accessed March 2, 2019.
45.Korosteliov, A., “Sistema ‘doping,’ ili kuda ustraivayutsa poymannye na doping sportsmeny” [Doping system, or how athletes caught on doping find new jobs], Dozhd’ TV, August 9, 2016,, accessed March 2, 2019.
46.“Ot dopinga—k kreslu chinovnika. Kak ustroilis’ poimannye na dopinge sportsmeny” [From doping to public office: how doped athletes find new jobs], Live Journal, August 15, 2016,, accessed March 2, 2019.
47.“Dopingoviy WADAmer—dokumental’niy film” [Doping WADA-measurer: a documentary], August 26, 2016,, accessed March 2, 2019.
48.Macedo, E., “WADA and imperialism: A philosophical look into anti-doping and athletes as coloniser and colonised,” International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, 2018, 10(3): 415427.10.1080/19406940.2017.1383930
49.Girginov, V. and Parry, J., “Protection or undermining the integrity of sport? The science and politics of the McLaren report,” International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, 2018, 10(2): 393407.10.1080/19406940.2018.1437058
50.“Doping: Rassledovanie Andreya Medvedeva” [Doping: Andrey Medvedev’s investigation], Rossiya 24, February 4, 2018,, accessed March 2, 2019.
51.Medvedev, S., “Proval operatsii ‘Sochi’: Kak spetsoperatsii zamenili v Rossii politiku” [The failure of the operation ‘Sochi’: How politics in Russia has been replaced by special operations],, December 12, 2017,, accessed March 2, 2019.
52.See, for example, Elbe, A.-M. and Overbye, M., “Urine doping controls: The athletes’ perspective,” International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, 2014, 6(2): 227240.10.1080/19406940.2013.801361
53.Altukhov, S. and Nauright, J., “The new sporting Cold War: Implications for the Russian doping allegations for the international relations and sport,” Sport in Society, 2018, 21(8): 11201136.10.1080/17430437.2018.1442194
54.Read, D., Skinner, J., Lock, D., and Houlihan, B., “Legitimacy driven change at the World Anti-Doping Agency,” International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, 2019, 11(2): 233245.
55.Waddington, I., “Surveillance and control in sport: A sociologist looks at the WADA whereabouts system,” International Journal of Sport Policy, 2010, 2(3): 255274.


Doped and disclosed: Anatomopolitics, biopower, and sovereignty in the Russian sports industry

  • Andrey Makarychev (a1) and Sergey Medvedev (a2)


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed