I sort of wonder if a better strategy would have been for RusFed to have byed at least their medalists from last year through to nationals this year, but giving them the option to skate in a couple of RC events to get competitive experience with this years programs without factoring them into the qualification for the remaining spots at nationals. Sort of like Nebelhorn in an Olympic year—you have teams skating there just to compete, but others trying to earn the remaining Olympic spots.I don’t think the federation is worried about a team like T/M, because T/M will easily qualify for the nationals. However, they don’t want to lose/keep out of nationals teams who belong there (like team number 5,6,7), who could easily not qualify if they went against all the stronger teams. There is no point having at the nationals weak teams and having the stronger (but not the completely strongest) teams off nationals. To create even a semi-decent team cost money and resources, so the federation doesn’t want to keep such teams off the nationals. Plus, you never know when they will be needed to be sent to Europeans/worlds. One year Russia had to send their team number 3,4 and 5 to the worlds because the top two teams were not able to compete. So to have the teams ready, they need to be at the nationals.