Russian whistleblower Dr Grigory Rodchenkov is in the U.S. Witness Protection Program but still fears for his life.
Grigory Rodchenkov, the former director of the Moscow Anti-Doping Centre from 2005 to 2015, is guarded in an undisclosed location by armed FBI agents as a participant in the U.S. Witness Protection Program.
Rodchenkov is considered a traitor by Russia after he became a whistleblower and exposed a far-reaching state-sponsored doping program in Russia. This has made him the Kremlin’s most wanted man.
Rodchenkov and his attorney believe that agents of the Russian government are currently and actively trying to uncover his whereabouts and assassinate him.
Russian “diplomats” working the United States were closing in on Grigory Rochenkov.
Jim Walden, a name partner with Walden Macht & Haran LLP, has represented Rodchenkov since he defected to the United States in January 2016.
Walden revealed that the FBI found evidence that three Russian “diplomats” living and working on U.S. soil were closing in on Rodchenkov in 2018. The three Russian agents were specifically tasked with locating Rodchenkov.
“What we learned from the bureau [FBI] was that three of the Russians that were expelled were people that had been placed here by the Kremlin to try to find Dr Rodchenkov. We actually saw pictures of those individuals. So, the threat to Dr Rodchenkov is real.”
Rodchenkov presumably dodged the proverbial bullet when the U.S. government expelled 60 Russian diplomats in protest of the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal. Skripal was a former Russian double agent living in the United Kingdom.
Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with an experimental Russian-developed Novichok nerve agent in Salisbury. They both survived after being hospitalized for several weeks. Russia was widely condemned by the international community for the brazen assassination attempt on foreign soil.
Walden has no doubt that Russia would not hesitate to make an equally brazen attempt on Rodchenkov’s life should the Kremlin discover his whereabouts.
Such a reaction would not be out of the ordinary for Russia as a means of retaliation. After all, Rodchenkov is the man primarily responsible for the World Anti-Doping Agency’s ban of Russia from international sports competition.
Russia was banned from the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics and will likely miss both the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics and the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. Rodchenkov’s story was the subject matter of the award-winning documentary “Icarus” by Bryan Fogel.
Rodchenkov is still granting interviews with the international news media. But he takes numerous precautions to disguise his appearance and avoid disclosing his location.
BBC. (July 31, 2020). The ‘real’ threat to Russia’s former doping mastermind. Retrieved from bbc.com/news/stories-53596997