Russia is not our friend, Article 1:
On Monday, world anti-doping officials will meet in Paris to decide whether to ban Russia from all international sports for four years. No, this is not old news. It's completely current, though you're forgiven any indifference you might feel stemming from the fact that Russia faced a similar fate just a few years ago.
Back then, Russia had been exposed for its brazen doping program at the 2014 hometown Winter Olympics in Sochi. Performance-enhancing drugs given to scores of athletes were covered up by replacing their tainted urine samples with clean urine. Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), the intelligence agency once directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, was involved. Russia was suspended from international sport, and its clean competitors were allowed into the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea as independent athletes in neutral uniforms with no national anthem played or national flag hoisted for any medal won.
Now the new news. Russia was reinstated in 2018 after agreeing to provide the World Anti-Doping Agency with a full database from its Moscow testing laboratory to define with finality the scope of the doping conspiracy. But the Russians tampered with the database. More than 15,000 files and folders were deleted, including many positive test results; others were backdated, fake messages were created to smear the whistleblower at the lab who exposed the scheme to make it seem as if he had falsified entries, and actual messages exposing the extent of the cover-up were erased.
WADA's executive committee is slated to vote Monday on whether to expel Russia from, among other things, next year's Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, and soccer's 2022 World Cup. A ban clearly is in order.
Russia is not our friend, Article 2:
The United States and Britain levied sanctions last week against a notorious Russian hacking group that calls itself — yes, this is real — Evil Corp, which under leader Maksim Yakubets has stolen at least $100 million from banks and other financial institutions in 40 countries. The thousands of U.S. victims include many smaller businesses like an Ohio dairy and a New Mexico luggage store, FBI officials said. Yakubets, like many of his fellow cybercriminals in Russia, also does side work stealing classified information overseas for the FSB, Putin's former baby.
Russia is not our friend, Article 3:
Germany expelled two Russian diplomats last week in retaliation for what authorities there say was an execution-style killing by Russian agents last summer in Berlin. One man with a Russian passport was arrested in the slaying of a Russian-Georgian citizen who had claimed asylum in Germany after commanding a Chechen militia during the Russia-Chechnya war. Two years ago, Britain accused Russia of sending agents to poison former Russian agent-turned-informant Sergei Skripal and his daughter with a nerve agent. In 2006, former FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko was killed in London by poisoning from radioactive material. A public inquiry determined the FSB killed Litvinenko with the probable approval of Putin.
Russia is not our friend, Article 4:
Russian bots and trolls, at the direction of the Russian government (read: Putin), interfered in our 2016 and 2018 elections and are preparing to do the same in 2020, according to the entire U.S. intelligence community. As fast as Twitter and Facebook take down fake Russian accounts, which isn't fast enough, more spring up to replace them.
Wanting to get along with Russia is one thing. Ignoring the history of our relationship, which teaches that such aspirational affection usually has been met with a malevolent form of unrequited love, is just ignorant.
Michael Dobie is a member of Newsday's editorial board.