‘The Kremlin wants me dead’: Russia's sports doping whistleblower speaks out squib

Grigory Rodchenkov was head of Russia’s ‘anti-doping’ centre but, in 2015, he fled to the US. He talks to the Observer’s former Moscow correspondent about the lies, the truth and life on the run

The man in front of me is wearing a disguise. We are talking on Skype. I’m at my home near London and Dr Grigory Rodchenkov is at an undisclosed location somewhere in America, guarded 24/7 by armed FBI agents. How is he? “My life is good. My mood is very good,” he says. He’s grinning, I think. Since he’s wearing a black scarf over his face and dark glasses, it’s hard to tell.

The cloak-and-dagger atmospherics surrounding our interview might seem a little overblown. Until, that is, you remember, Vladimir Putin’s roving assassins are trying to establish Rodchenkov’s secret location so they can snuff him out, a traitor to the state. Russia’s president has a long list of enemies. But Rodchenkov – the most significant sports whistleblower of the 21st century – is probably at the top.

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