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Buzz Barometer: Sun and Scandal in Sochi
February 10, 2013 20:42

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As if to get more attention, the Kremlin announced the final bill, making it the most expensive Olympics in history, and castigated those officials who had run beyond the budget and delayed the construction.


The Financial Times’ Courtney Weaver reports on the firing on a top man from the national Olympic Committee after a widely televised dressing-down.


According to FT, as many as 153 of the games’ 379 facilities are complete, and 49 venues are behind schedule.


Weaver’s article quotes Elena Panfilova, head of Transparency International Russia, who says the public grilling is only meant to save a face.

A different view is presented in an article by Sergei Loiko, from the Los Angeles Times, who talked to Kirill Kabanov, head of the National Anti-Corruption Committee. It’s a strong warning to the elite to stop stealing, he says.

NBC News was pretty good describing the contrasts of Sochi. Jim Maceda starts off by pointing out that Sochi is actually a summer resort, with ‘Miami-style high-rise condos’ among palm and cypress trees.

But Maceda also gets beyond picturesque descriptions of Sochi, giving a glimpse of the decrepit infrastructure far away from the eyes of Sochi tourists.

He meets two Russians living in the village of Mirny who struggle to survive in the shade of the extravagant preparations.

Maceda also mentions the risks such as threat of terrorism from the Caucasus region and weather, which can force postponements in the tight Olympic schedule.

The New York Times points out to the amount of construction force deployed to finish the facilities on time.


According to its own David M. Herszenhorn, 70,000 construction workers are now toiling 24/7 in a city of just 350,000 residents.

He also cites a report by Human Rights Watch about numerous abuses of migrant workers.

Journalists have complained that talking about Sochi in bad light was a taboo, while environmentalists also have a lot of concerns, according to the New York Times.

US citizen Holly Brooks was quoted by the newspaper as saying that there were too many security checks during the test events.



But the most striking fact was taken by Mr Herszenhorn from the Russian blogs.

Internet-activist Egor Bychkov put together an alternative list of things that Russia could have done with the money it has poured into Sochi. It included a new 25-meter-long swimming pool in each of Russia’s 1,100 cities, an indoor skating rink in every city, and a 10,000-seat sports arena with artificial turf.

CNN focused more on the feedback by the athletes who were generally satisfied with the place but said the Olympic courses were pretty challenging and needed a bit of tuning.

Sky News reminds its readers that Sochi is just the first in the series of legacy-defining sports events that Russia is preparing for. Formula One arrives here next year and the football World Cup is slated to take place in Russia in 2018.

Russia-IC will bring you more updates of the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.


Author: Mikhail Vesely

Tags: Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics corruption Buzz Barometer  

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