Modified article from NRC

Michael Kalinski a Russian sports scientist emigrated in 1990 to the United States. He was then brought to the airport by his friend Professor Nikolai Volkov. In his suitcase Kalinski took a number of secret documents, which were the result of years of studies by prestigious Soviet scientists.

Doping, Kalinski said from the United States, was a state affair in the Soviet Union. And doping was one of the most important weapons in the eternal struggle against the capitalist enemy. In his suitcase was also a voluminous dissertation by Professor Volkov entitled “The bioenergetics of the muscles of man during exercise and methods to improve the performance of athletes.”

Professor Michael Kalinski

One chapter dealt with the effects of mildronate, the brand name of a medicine for the heart, of which meldonium is the active component.


Meldonium caused an avalanche of doping cases this week in Russian sports. First top tennis star Maria Sharapova admitted she had been caught on the agent. Then came other doping cases. The number of athletes which has since tested positive for meldonium increases day by day. WADA said that the counter now stands at 99. Though without mentioning names.

This is the second big shock for sport in Russia after the mega scandal in the Russian athletics that came out last November, and thus Russia’s participation in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August 2016 is under discussion.

But there was also an outrage for the fact that meldonium was put on the doping list since January 1, 2016. According to important scientists, there is no evidence that the drug improves physical  performance.

Ivar Kalvins, investigator from Letland who discovered meldonium in the mid 70s speaks of a political decision of WADA to place meldonium on the doping list.

Michael Kalinski is now an American citizen and is employed at the University of Kentucky. The thesis of Professor Volkov, in which a chapter is devoted to meldonium, is still in his possession. Volkov wrote about the effects of meldonium 26 years ago. The thesis was written for other Soviet scientists, but it was never published. The client was the Sovjet Union. In an accompanying letter you can read the following sentence: ‘In recent years, commissioned by the sports committee of the USRR specialized research is done into the application of tools and methods to promote the performance of athletes’. Doping in the Sovjet Union was state-sponsored. The money and the contract came from the state. And Volkov was not in the position to refuse this command or order.

For his meldonium study Professor Volkov examined 18 cyclists. They were administered daily 1 gram mildronate. The results were compared with a placebo – group.

It was found that the results of the meldonium group were clearly better. Volkov noted a significant improvement in the effects of training in the meldonium users. The conclusion of that study was: this way to improve the aerobic capacity, i.e. to improve the absorption of oxygen, can be successfully used during the preparation period for competitions and during race periods. Sports which mainly benefit will be cycling, running and rowing.

Julia Lipnitskaia
Mariya Savinova
Pavel Koelizjnikov

Russian Gold Medals winners receive a Mercedes GL and 120.000 Euro.

Meldonium has been used since 1990 and was just completely permitted from the start. It then took another quarter century before meldonium was stated an illegal substance by WADA.

But Volkov investigated in 1990 also means that were on the doping list. And not without reason. Why did they spend millions of rubles on such research?? To put it in a drawer?? No, the results were used by athletes to get more medals at the Olympics, the Soviet Union excelled in pharmacological sport research. They hired the best scientists successfully. “

The Russian government was still confused about how to respond to the growing meldonium scandal. Sergey Lavrov, the foreign minister, demanded WADA to explain why the drug was placed on the doping list suddenly. Vitaly Mutko, Minister of Sport, took all responsibility for the affair.

The prevailing view that meldonium is out of the body within six days appears to be a mistake, according Moetko. He believes it is possible that there are still measurable traces of meldonium remain in the body after more than one hundred days. Russian athletes who are positive have taken meldonium according Moetko long before December 31 last year when it was not banned.

According to Michael Kalinski the ancient doping culture in Russia is still alive. The old Soviet elite in the sport might be deceased, but the methods are the same. And under Putin sports have the same meaning as in that time. “Back to the USRR”