The Kremlin has called the reinstatement of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) as a "positive step" as criticism of the decision by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) continues to pour in from the rest of the world.
RUSADA was formally reinstated by WADA during an Executive Committee meeting in the Seychelles yesterday, with the vote going comfortably in Russia’s favour by nine votes to two with one abstention.
RUSADA’s ban was initially introduced in November 2015 when allegations emerged of state sponsored doping in Russian athletics.
To be allowed back, WADA initially declared Russia must accept the findings of the McLaren Report and allow access to the infamous Moscow anti-doping lab, where much evidence is thought to be stored.
RUSADA has now, however, been reinstated despite not yet meeting either of those two requirements, much to the dismay of many in global sport.
The Institute of National Anti-Doping Organisations (INADO) claimed the handling of the case exposed "fundamental governance flaws" within WADA.
The most decorated Olympian of all-time Michael Phelps also expressed his disbelief at the decision.
“When is an organisation going to fully take responsibility and take charge to change?” the 23-time Olympic gold medallist told a press conference in Hong Kong.
"Sports aren’t about putting performance-enhancing drugs in your body and standing up and performing."
Phelps added: "It’s sad to see this.
"I’ve complained about it, I’ve testified about it, and still nothing changes.
"So I guess that then leads us here and where do we go next?
“What else can be done?"
In a statement put out today iNADO warned that WADA had "surrendered" to pressure from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Russian Government, "to substantially weaken the terms of the road map".
“The weaknesses of WADA’s governance model…have been clearly exposed," they said.
"As the global regulator [of anti-doping], WADA should have been objectively enforcing the agreed sanctions and requirements, not compromising them.
"One real tragedy is that this decision undermines the credibility of an organisation which, in many other ways, has created a much better foundation for the application of clean sport programmes and has numerous excellent, hardworking technical staff who warrant support."
Other bodies to have criticised the decision today include the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, who claimed clean athletes around the world will be "outraged" by the decision which has "perpetuated the largest doping scandal in the history of sport".
Canada’s Beckie Scott, meanwhile, who resigned her position on WADA’’s Compliance Review Committee last week after it recommended reinstatement, has said the decision is "disappointing beyond measure".
Britain's women’s marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe claimed the decision goes against "everything WADA is supposed to stand for".
Kremlin spokesperson Dimitry Peskov, though, told reporters in Moscow today that WADA’s decision marked a "positive step".
He insisted, however, that President Vladimir Putin believes doping is unacceptable.
"In this context, no doubt, we positively view WADA’s decision and understand that there is still a rather long way to go until a working process is finally normalised and all its nuances are settled," Peskov said.
Meanwhile in a move that has surprised many, former WADA chairman Richard Pound has backed Russia's reinstatement, telling Press Association Sport that the move will help prosecute more Russian cheats.
"The issue of access to the lab is the key and that had been dragging on for nearly four years while the Russians conducted this criminal investigation - well, that was their excuse," Pound, the International Olympic Committee's longest-serving member, said.
"So WADA has said, 'that's got to stop, we need to put a stake in the ground' and that is what we have now with this 31 December deadline.
"I think we are in a much better position to follow through with these cases now.
"We have a timeline, backed up by an automatic sanction.
"Whether this was a case of muddling through or a calculated strategy by WADA, I don't know, but it's worked, and when the smoke clears I think people will realise this is a favourable deal."
As Pound's comments allude to, current WADA President Sir Craig Reedie has warned that RUSADA could be declared non-compliant again if they do not follow a "clear timeline" on access to the samples and data at the Moscow Laboratory.
Under the "strict conditions" decided by the Executive Committee yesterday, Russia must ensure the data is handed over to WADA by no later than December 31 of this year.
WADA has also demanded that they be given the chance to re-analyse "any samples as required by WADA" no later than June 30, 2019.
The International Association of Athletics Federations and the International Paralympic Committee have both warned Russia that their bans will not automatically be lifted as a result of WADA’s decision.