By Nick Butler

Russian Olympic Committee head Alexander Zhukov has admitted financial problems will affect sporting investment ©Getty ImagesRussia will continue to carry out and fulfil its sporting aims despite the financial slump that has badly affected the country, Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) President Alexander Zhukov has promised, although he has admitted there will be "impacts".

After a steady fall in recent months, the Russian Ruble has rapidly plummeted in value this week, falling around 20 per cent against the dollar at one stage yesterday, despite emergency moves implemented by the Russian Central Bank.

The exchange rate is currently hovering at around RUB68 to $1 (£0.64/€0.80), so less than half of its average value of RUB33 to the dollar at the beginning of the year.

Speaking this morning, Zhukov, one of four Russian International Olympic Committee members who was re-elected head of the NOC in May, was blunt in admitting the financial problems would affect the nation's sporting infrastructure, even if overall targets will be unchanged.

"Ruble's exchange rate definitely has its impact," he told the ITAR-TASS news agency.

"The [ROC] budget stipulates foreign currency spending, and salaries of foreign coaches directly depend on exchange rates.

"However, we will fulfil all of our tasks concerning the preparation of our athletes despite the hiked spending in salaries."

Russia has been the target of economic sanctions by the United States and European Union in protest at the foreign policy of President Vladimir Putin and his intervention in Ukraine ©AFP/Getty ImagesRussia has been the target of economic sanctions by the United States and European Union in protest at the foreign policy of President Vladimir Putin and his intervention in Ukraine ©AFP/Getty Images

Russia is due to host a series of major events over the next few years, including next year's World Aquatics Championships in Kazan, the 2016 World Ice Hockey Championships and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

It is not yet known whether preparations for any of these events will be affected by the financial crisis.

The problems, which have increased in recent days, are due to falling oil prices worldwide, as well as the biting effect of sanctions on high profile individuals and businesses introduced by the West earlier this year in response to Russian intervention in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea.

Among those targeted by the United States and European Union have been Dmitry Kozak, the Deputy Prime Minister responsible for the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic preparations, and businessman and SportAccord Executive Committee member Arkady Rotenberg.

Although the sporting year has been a successful one for Russia, with the host nation topping both the Olympic and Paralympic medals table in Sochi, there have also been other controversies. 

Most of these have involved doping scandals, with German TV station ARD alleging "systematic doping" among the Russian athletics team earlier this month at the end of another year in which there have been a huge number of failures across many different sports.

The latest claims have been denied by various figures, including Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko and Russian anti-doping agency (RUSADA) managing director Nikita Kamaev, although the latter has promised a full investigation.

Russian Athletics Federation President Valentin Balakhnichev has stepped down from his position as International Association of Athletics Federations treasurer as the investigation runs its course.

Zhukov, however, has praised anti-doping authorities in the nation.

"The fact Russia unveils more of doping cases speaks for the effective work of RUSADA," he said. 

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