Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Window on Eurasia: Putin Forms Security-Heavy State Commission to Run Sochi Olympics

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 15 – Reflecting both the nature of his regime and the security problems facing Moscow as it organizes the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russian President Vladimir Putin today names a security-heavy commission to prepare and carry out those games in the still far from settled North Caucasus.

            According to the decree, a complete text of which is at news.kremlin.ru/acts/17333, this commission, the latest Russian state organization to be put in charge of the games, will be responsible for coordinating and directing the actions of all government and non-government bodies involved.

            The new body, according to the decree, is to have 37 members, including a large contingent from the security services. It is chaired by Dmitry Kozak, the deputy head of the Russian government. One of his deputies is O.V. Syromolotov, the head of the first service of the FSB.

            Other key members with security responsibilities are the defense minister, the head of the Federal Migration Service, the civil defense ministry, the foreign minister, the justice minister, and the internal affairs minister, a pattern highlighted by the report of the “Russky mir” news service (www.russkiymir.ru/russkiymir/ru/news/common/news36392.html).

            Obviously, in today’s world, any government organizing an Olympiad would involve security officials, but the dominance of such officials in this Russian commission seems certain to spark new concerns about whether Moscow will in fact be able to guarantee security for those involved and also about what it may do in the interim to try to ensure that security.

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