Staunton, September 23 – In the run-up to the Sochi Olympiad in February 2014, many people pointed to the massive diversion of Russian taxpayer money into the hand of corrupt officials and businessman and to the destruction of the environment in the regions adjoining the site of the games.
But now that the Olympiad is over, another cost of Vladimir Putin’s gigantist Soviet-style project is becoming obvious: the way in which even those things that money was actually spent to build are not being used at anything like the capacity that Putin and his officials promised and that all too many accepted.
According to Aleksandr Valov, editor of BlogSochi.ru, thousands of apartments built in advance of the competition now stand empty. Indeed, on one street alone, only seven of the 2175 apartments on one street are currently occupied. The rest are vacant and at risk of decay (blogsochi.ru/content/tysyachi-kvartir-v-sochi-do-sikh-por-pustuyut-posle-olimpiady and
A major threat to the unoccupied apartments, the few residents there have told Valov, is the large number of thieves and hooligans who break in and steal everything they can, including furniture left by earlier occupants and even toilets and other bathroom fixtures. Moreover, drug addicts now are camped out on the ground floor.
Another reason so few people are in these housing blocks is that local officials have allowed all communal services, including electricity and heat, to lapse. As a result, the blogger says, these high rises which impressed so many at the time of the games are now on their way to joining the “ghost” settlements elsewhere around Sochi.
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