Alexander Zhukov has ruled out a Russian boycott ©Getty Images

Russia is "totally against" boycotting Rio 2016, the President of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) Alexander Zhukov has revealed.

The official made the comments to media today at a time when his country is still reeling from the findings of the McLaren Report, which outlined a state-sponsored Russian doping scheme at their home Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has called for Russia to be banned from all international sporting competitions until a "culture change" is achieved, with others backing this view.

A decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) - which says it is exploring legal options for a possible total ban - is expected this weekend.

Russia, though, has adopted a mostly defensive stance amid widespread international criticism with many in the country feeling that they are the victims of a political witch-hunt.

That has led to speculation about a boycott, but Zhukov appears to have ruled out this extreme scenario.

"We are totally against any boycotts," he said, as reported by TASS.

"Olympic Games should bring countries together. 

The Soviet Union led a boycott of Los Angeles 1984 ©Getty Images
The Soviet Union led a boycott of Los Angeles 1984 ©Getty Images

"The use of Olympics as a weapon has become a thing of the past."

If the world's largest nation did opt to stay away - if they were not already banned - it would be a huge blow to the Olympic movement and bring back bad memories of the first two Summer Games of the 1980s.

At the Olympics in Russian capital Moscow in 1980, the United States led a 65-country boycott after the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan.

The Russians responded in kind at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles, with 14 Soviet allies withdrawing from the event in California.

"We remember many countries boycotted the 1980 Olympics," Zhukov added.

"Then there were the Los Angeles Olympics with the same situation. 

"Boycotts can only drive a wedge between the Olympic movement members. 

"Russia will not take part in boycotts."

Russia's athletics team is already banned from Rio 2016 following a decision by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

This was due to widespread doping revelations in track and field with the outcome of a Russian appeal made to the Court of Arbitration for Sport due tomorrow.

It could be left for individual International Federations to decide if Russia can compete in their sports.

Zhukov appears confident that his country will be allowed to participate as normal, citing the backing of many governing bodies and claiming more than 700 people will be part of the Russian Olympic delegation.

This comes despite the IOC pledging to deny accreditation to any official of the Russian Sports Ministry or any person implicated in the McLaren Report.

The IOC has also removed backing for any sporting event in Russia, including the proposed 2019 European Games, and has asked Winter Federations to seek new hosts for any competitions scheduled in the country.

The McLaren report showed the Sports Ministry "directed, controlled and oversaw" a "unique" method of sample manipulation at Sochi 2014, while 30 sports are alleged to have been implicated in the swapping of samples to conceal positive tests.

Nikolai Durmanov, who TASS described as an anti-doping expert, cast doubt on this, however, telling the news agency he wasn't sure that sample bottles could be tampered with.

"It is believed that sample bottles cannot be opened as they are sealed in a special way," he said.

"Of course, I’m not a big expert on scratches but I have the following simple question: 'why are there the scratches on the inner side'?

"If we open something, then signs of tampering are always found on the outside. 

Vladimir Putin has suspended officials mentioned in the McLaren Report but Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko remains in the post ©Getty Images
Vladimir Putin has suspended officials mentioned in the McLaren Report but Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko remains in the post ©Getty Images

"Only one more or less rational version comes to my mind, the scratches were left as a keepsake. 

"I can’t find any other explanations."

The scandal has led to increasing calls for Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko to be sacked, but President Vladimir Putin has not yet gone down this path.

Putin has, however, suspended all officials named in the McLaren Report until investigations are finished. 

This did not include Mutko himself, but did include his anti-doping advisor, Natalia Zhelanova.

"I'm temporarily suspended from my role until findings of McLaren report are checked," Zhelanova wrote on Twitter.

"All who know me know I'm passionate about fighting doping."