Note: Each Friday over the coming months, I will prepare a special Window on Eurasia about the meaning and impact of the planned Olympiad on the nations in the surrounding region. These WOEs will not aim at being comprehensive but rather will consist of a series of bullet points about such developments. I would like to invite anyone with special knowledge or information about this subject to send me references to the materials involved. My email address is email@example.com Many thanks. Paul Goble
· Sochi Olympics Won’t Really Be in Sochi. A resident of the city says that Sochi will be disrupted by visitors but that the venues for the competition will be outside its borders (blogsochi.ru/content/olimpiady-v-sochi-ne-budet).
· Only One-Third of Olympic Facilities Likely to Be Fully Ready. Based on Moscow’s performance in Vladivostok in advance of the Pacific summit, a Moscow commentator says, only about a third of the facilities needed for the competition and for visitors will be completed by opening day (ng.ru/economics/2013-02-08/1_olimpiada.html).
· Sochi Games On Track to Be Most Expensive and Most Corrupt in Olympic History. Following President Vladimir Putin’s visit to the site, Russian commentators both in Moscow and in the region have pointed out that this competition will be extraordinarily expensive, using money that could be better spent on social needs, and equally extraordinarily corrupt (mr7.ru/articles/77404/, echo.msk.ru/blog/nemtsov_boris/1009664-echo/, regnum.ru/news/sport/1623363.html, chaskor.ru/article/sochinskaya_olimpiada_30972, rusrep.ru/article/2013/02/12/sochi/ and www.echo.msk.ru/blog/aglushenko/1011130-echo/).
· Areas Adjoining Sochi are Not Benefiting in the Ways Moscow Claims. Neither Abkhazia nor other regions and republics are going to benefit from the competition in the ways Moscow officials had claimed (kavkaz.ge/2013/02/13/neolimpijskaya-abxaziya/).
· Moscow Finds Some Circassians to Back the Games. Although many of the world’s five million Circassians object to holding the competition at the site of their 1864 expulsion from the Russian Empire, an event that cost thousands of lives, Moscow has found a Circassian group that says it will back the games “with all possible efforts” (vesti-sochi.tv/olimpiada/14772-cherkesy-podderzhat-olimpiadu-vsemi-vozmozhnymi-silami).
· Sochi Construction Leads to Ecological Destruction. Almost all of the construction surrounding the projected games has led to environmental destruction and constitutes an “ecological crime” (chaskor.ru/article/sochinskaya_olimpiada_30972).
· Ticket Prices Rising Beyond the Reach of Most Local People. The average spectator is projected to spend over 10,000 US dollars, a boon for some but a price far beyond one that people in the region or even most Russians will be able to afford (km.ru/turizm/2013/02/12/turisticheskii-biznes/703811-olimpiada-blizhe-tseny-vyshe and ng.ru/economics/2013-02-11/4_sochi.html).
· Security Needs at Sochi May Be Behind Decision to Dispatch Russian Draftees to Hot Spots Early. Russian officials announced that the armed forces may now send young draftees to serve in hot spots after only four years of service, violating earlier Moscow promise and quite possibly reflecting Moscow’s drive to improve security in the North Caucasus before the Olympics (.rosbalt.ru/main/2013/02/12/1093040.html).
· Human Rights Watch Prepares Film on How Sochi Residents Feel about the Games. HRW has prepared a film based on interviews with local people, most of whom are anything but happy about how the preparations for the games have affected their lives (blogsochi.ru/content/human-rights-watch-lyudi-i-vlast-olimpiada-2014-goda-v-sochi).
· Snowboarders Can’t Train at Sochi Because of a Shortage of Snow. Shortages of snow this winter in the areas surround Sochi, something not atypical of winters in that area, have kept snowboarders from practicing, officials acknowledge (blogsochi.ru/content/alena-alekhina-v-sochi-ne-na-chem-trenirovatsya).
· Moscow’s Hopes for Medals Hurt by IOC’s Decision to Drop Wrestling from Competition. The International Olympic Committee’s decision to drop wrestling from the Sochi games almost certainly cost the Russian Federation some of the medals Putin and others have been hoping for (vz.ru/sport/2013/2/13/620148.html).
· Sochi Olympics So Shameful that Even Putin May Have Regrets. The corruption and scandals surround preparations for the games are now such “a shame,” Russian commentators say, that even Vladimir Putin, who has pushed the games as a centerpiece of his third term, may now be feeling some regrets (ru-nsn.livejournal.com/2523005.html and specletter.com/politika/2013-02-11/iz-prezidenta-vydavlivajut-vse-sochi.html).
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