Monthly Archives: July 2013

CIRCASSIANS MARK 250TH ANNIVERSARY OF RESISTANCE TO RUSSIAN AGGRESSION

CIRCASSIANS MARK 250TH ANNIVERSARY OF RESISTANCE TO RUSSIAN AGGRESSION

By: Paul Goble

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Much has been and will be said about the 150th anniversary of the Circassian “genocide” by Russian forces that will be marked in 2014 when the site of that mass murder is scheduled to be the venue of the Winter Olympics. But this week marks what is at least as significant, politically if not morally, for both Circassians and Russians—the 250th anniversary of the continuing resistance of the Circassian nation to Russian aggression in the North Caucasus.

On July 28, 1763, a Russian military unit crossed into the territory of the sovereign principality of Greater Kabarda, the largest state of the Circassian nation up to that time. Over the next 101 years, Circassians resisted the invasion of the much larger Russian military, earning the respect of Russian commanders as one of the most fearsome opponents any of them had ever faced. That 101-year-long fight, one far longer than the much better-known resistance of Imam Shamyl, however, ended only when tsarist officials destroyed Circassian statehood and killed or expelled most of the members of that nationality (hekupsa.com/istoriya/istoriya-cherkesii/1071-k-250-letiyu-nachala-agressii-rossijskoj-imperii-protiv-cherkessii).

For more than a century, the Circassians engaged in active military resistance, the longest resistance of any people whom the Russian state ever faced in its efforts to expand the empire. To this day, Russian historians recognize that this resistance was far more difficult for Russian forces to overcome than any of the others, in the North Caucasus and elsewhere. But what is not always recognized either in Russia or among Circassians is that active resistance to Russian power continued well after 1864 both in the Russian Empire and its successor states as well as abroad.

When the Russian Empire began its final collapse, the Circassians were among those who maintained their organized capacity to resist both state arbitrariness and collapse. It was the Circassian Regiment of the Imperial Army’s Savage Division that would have been able to reverse the February 1917 revolution, had its members not been encouraged by Georgian Mensheviks to stop fighting Russian democracy on the Pulkovo heights outside Petrograd and return to the Caucasus to pursue the restoration of their own national statehood. And it was the Circassian units pursuing that goal who blocked the efforts of General Anton Denikin’s White Army to subordinate the Caucasus to a Russia, “one and indivisible.”

Throughout the Russian Civil War, the Circassians were the most reliable troops of the short-lived Republic of the Mountaineers (1917–1920), and even after that region was conquered by the Bolsheviks and the 11th Red Army, they continued to resist, forcing Moscow to make compromises, including the division of the Circassian nation into more different groups than was the case of any other ethnic community under Soviet rule. Their steadfast commitment to their own nation throughout the Soviet period was something that writers from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn onward recognized even when official Soviet documents did not.

Even more important for the present day and the future, the Circassians who were expelled from their homeland by the Russians after 101 years of resistance remained true to their military and security traditions and became senior officers in the Ottoman Empire and its successor states, including Turkey, Lebanon and Syria, among others. Their commitment to the virtues that allowed the Circassians to resist in the active phase from 1763 until 1864 and more intermittently in the years that followed meant that the Russian hopes of destroying the Circassians by the brutal expulsion of 1864 has never been realized.

That is the other, and much less noticed, part of this year’s anniversary. The Russian state and the Russian nation have never faced a more determined adversary than the Circassians. Other peoples, including the Balts, the Chechens and the Poles, in particular, are celebrated or castigated in Russia for their resistance. But the Circassian resistance was so strong and so long lasting that on this anniversary as on next year’s, Russians and the Russian state cannot acknowledge what the Circassians have done.

To do so would be to admit that the Russian imperial project is doomed—that there is at least one people, however much victimized by military aggression and genocidal expulsion, which has shown itself prepared to sacrifice itself in the name of freedom and national self-determination. That nation is the Circassians, a people many in the West know little or nothing about.

But between now and the scheduled opening of the Olympiad in Sochi, where so many of the ancestors of today’s nearly 6 million Circassians died, ever more people around the world are going to learn about that nation. The rulers in the Kremlin may think they only have to worry about dealing with the events of the first year, but in fact, they ultimately face a more serious threat from the second.

http://www.jamestown.org/programs/nc/single/?tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=41199&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=24&cHash=f73fd1961d54dde1f77b903e7012b711

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WINDOW ON EURASIA: SOCHI COUNTDOWN — 28 WEEKS TO THE OLYMPIAD IN THE NORTH CAUCASUS

WINDOW ON EURASIA: SOCHI COUNTDOWN — 28 WEEKS TO THE OLYMPIAD IN THE NORTH CAUCASUS

Note:  This is my 22nd special Window on Eurasia about the meaning and impact of the planned Olympiad on the nations in the surrounding region.  These WOEs, which will appear each Friday over the coming year, will not aim at being comprehensive but rather will consist of a series bullet points about such developments.  I would like to invite anyone with special knowlege or information about this subject to send me references to the materials involved. My email address is paul.goble@gmail.com  Allow me to express my thanks to all those who already have. Paul Goble
‘Mounting Concerns’ in Moscow about Impact of Anti-Gay Law on Sochi.  The Moscow Times reports that “concerns are mounting” in Moscow over the impact on the Olympics of Russia’s new law against “homosexual propaganda.” Some fear that an international boycott is a possibility while others are concerned that there will be some LGBT demonstration at the games(http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/detentions-intensify-fears-over-gay-rights/483623.html).
Putin Won’t Back Down on Anti-Gay Law Because of his ‘Self-Promoted Masculinity,’ US Coach Says. Charley Sullivan, an American rowing coach, says that Putin won’t reverse Russia’s anti-gay laws because “to acquiesce would call his significantly promoted masculinity and power into question. Even if the laws were changed, by some miracle, we would still need to keep in mind the possibility of this being temporary and for show, a modern Potemkin Village of tolerance.” Consequently, there are only two possible responses: not a boycott but a demand that the games be “removed from Russia entirely,” and a program to “take the gay to Sochi,” sending openly gay diplomats and politicians and … openly gay elite athletes and coachs … to press this question” inn Moscow and using the games themselves to demonstrate international support for LGBT rights (outsports.com/2013/7/25/4553862/sochi-2014-winter-olympics-russia-gay-athletes). Moreover, the Russian president knows that the new law enjoys overwhelming support among Russians and among conservative groups in the US and elsewhere (one-europe.info/gay-rights-in-russia-a-miserable-issue#.UelgBW00EUM).
Olympians Should Demonstrate Support for Russian LGBTs at the Games.  Tom Ziller says that Olympians can give Russia “a big ol’ dose of reality” that “being homosexual is not a sin.”  The games themselves “provide a stage for individual athletes and teams. There’s really very little that Putin can or would have the stomach to do to censor Olympic champions from making their statements about gay rights, however subtle or obvious those statements may be.It strikes me that the best way to protest a ban on gay pride parades is to turn the Parade of Nations into an hours-long message of support to the Russian gay community. If it’s pervasive enough, there’s nothing Putin’s regime can do to stop it from reaching the very kids his government would like to quarantine from anything to do with homosexual acceptance.” (sbnation.com/2013/7/24/4548656/sochi-winters-olympics-2014-russia-boycott-gay-rights).
Olympic Committee Must Demand Repeal of Anti-Gay Laws, NY Times Writer Says.In an oped in the New York Times, Harvey Fierstein, an actor and playright, says that “the Olympic Committee must demand the retraction” of anti-LGBT laws.  He notes that “In 1936 the world attended the Olympics in Germany. Few participants said a word about Hitler’s campaign against the Jews. Supporters of that decision point proudly to the triumph of Jesse Owens, while I point with dread to the Holocaust and world war. There is a price for tolerating intolerance” (nytimes.com/2013/07/22/opinion/russias-anti-gay-crackdown.html?smid=tw-share&_r=3&).
Canadian Writer Warns of Repeat of 1936 Games at Sochi.  Sarah Connor, who writes on hockey and other sports, says “Sochi, we have a problem,” adding that the question now is “Will we see a repeat of 1936, in which the Olympics in Germany ignored the huge issue occurring right under their noses, or will we actually see some sort of heinously unjustifiable action taken against Olympians and their supporters? Either way, it’s disgusting and in direct violation of the Olympics’ mission statement, and it’s a shame that it has to be a focal point of worry for certain athletes rather than what they SHOULD be focusing on — representing their country to the best of their ability. There’s no NHL boycott, but maybe there should be” (stanleycupofchowder.com/2013/7/22/4545668/sochi-2014-you-can-play-or-can-you).
Canada Must Consider a Sochi Boycott, Writer Says. Russia’s new anti-gay law “is an affront both to the people in that coutry and around the world,” a Canadian writer says. “It’s been condemned by the European Union and by groups such as Human Rights Watch, but for Canada, it stands in direct contrast to the values for which we are internally lauded.”  And consequently, while Canada failed to stand up for Canadaina values at the time of the Beijing games, “in this case we must give serious consideration to our participation at the Sochi Olympics in2014” (theglobeandmail.com/commentary/russias-anti-gay-law-is-incompatible-with-olympic-values-should-we-boycott-sochi/article13318097/).
Reasons for Sochi Boycott Seen Mounting.  Moscow’s behavior in the Snowden case, its treatment of political opponents and NGOs, its inability to pacify the North Caucasus, and its support for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Asad are all being cited by Western and Russian outlets as reasons for boycotting the Sochi Games, according to one Olympic portal (2014.info/news/prichiny-nachat-bojkot-olimpiady-v-sochi/).
Russian Officials Raid Rights Group in Sochi … Police raided the Sochi offices of Memorial the day after that office handed in complaints about serious violations of worker rights by Olympic contractors. “Instead of bullying the messenger,” a senior Human Rights Watch official said, “the Russian authorities should investigate the allegations of abuse” (ifex.org/russia/2013/07/25/russia_rights_group_targeted/kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/227522/ and hrw.org/ru/news/2013/07/25/rossiya-v-sochi-prishli-s-proverkoi-k-pravozashchitnikam).
… And Threaten to Close Environmental Group. Meanwhile, Russian prosecutors warned Environmental Watch on the North Caucasus that it would be closed unless it registers as “a foreign agent” (facebook.com/notes/environmental-watch-on-north-caucasus/police-deliver-foreign-agent-warning-to-ewnc-in-a-sting-operation/10151828466253833).
Online Petition Calls for Boycotting Sochi Games.  An online petition to world leaders is gathering signatures calling on them to boycott the Olympics in Sochi because of “the anti-human anti-democratiic, homophobic policies, acts and politically motivated court cases by Vladimir Putin’s regime” (change.org/en-CA/petitions/world-governments-and-leaders-boycott-sochi-olympics-over-human-rights-violations-by-putin-s-regime).
Putin Says Critics of Universiade Should ‘Take Viagra.’ Upset that so many people have criticized the Kazan Universiade where Russian professionals defeated amateurs from other countries and where the Kremlin’s public relations campaign was in overdrive, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that those doing the criticism should “take viagra” and find happiness some other way (sports.ru/others/athletics/151423768.html and grani.ru/Politics/Russia/President/m.217060.html).
Kazan Universiade Leaves Sports Writers, Athletes, and Fans Upset, Disappointed. Putin’s comment came as reports surface that the fake and boring quality of the Kazan Universiade has infuriated and disappointed sports writers, athletes, and fans (tatar-centr.blogspot.com/2013/07/blog-post_9130.htmlecho.msk.ru/blog/zhurova/1118484-echo/,tataram.ru/article/4772/9/, and profile.ru/article/izbienie-mladentsev-pobeda-rossiiskoi-sbornoi-na-universiade-v-kazani-ostavila-dvoistvennoe-).
Sochi Residents Angry about Electricity Shutoffs, Watermain Breaks, and Potholed Roles. As Olympic construction continues with little attention to the needs of the local population, residents of Sochi and environs are increasingly upset by daily electricity shutoffs, construction-related breaks in water mains and impassable roads and are turning their anger against both local officials and Moscow itself (blogsochi.ru/content/sochivodokanal-prodolzhaet-vosstanovlenie-setei-povrezhdennykh-stroitelyami andhttp://blogsochi.ru/content/prezidentu-gk-%C2%ABolimpstroi%C2%BB-sergeyu-gaplikovu).
Illegal Drugs Sold So Openly in Sochi that Standard Prices are Now Published. A broad range of illegal drugs are now so readily available in the Olympic city that residents say there are standard prices for different kinds; they further complain that they have no confidence that the police are doing anything about this plague (blogsochi.ru/content/narkotorgovlya-v-olimpiiskoi-stolitse-optom-i-v-roznitsu).
Without Being Asks, Tatarstan Not Moscow Paid for Universiade and Part of Sochi Too, Editor Says.  Rashit Akhmetov, editor of the independent Zvezda Povolzhya, says that the people of Tatarstan not the central government in Moscow paid for the Kazan Games because their republic for years has sent more taxes to the center than it has received aid back. And he says that this pattern is continuing with Sochi as well.  Consequently, Akhmetov says, Tatars and Russians should not be expected to be grateful to Moscow given that it is spending their money (zvezdapovolzhya.ru/obshestvo/universiada-24-07-2013.html).
Sochi Costs Continue to Rise. Despite costing more than five times what was planned and becoming the most expensive Olympic competition in history, the Sochi Games are online to cost even more as costs for medical services and other support activities that Moscow did not originally budget for come in (2014.info/news/rasxody-na-olimpiadu-prodolzhayut-rasti/).
Some Sochi Gold Medals Will Contain Chelyabinsk Meteorite Fragments.  Russian officials say that they will embed small pieces of the meteorite that fell on Chelyabinsk last February in the gold medals awarded at Sochi to honor the 1600 victims of that event (en.rsport.ru/olympics/20130724/675853604.html).
Prosecutors Send Case against Crusading Sochi Journalist Back for Investigation.  In what may be nothing more than a bureaucratic snafu or an effort at delay, Sochi prosecutors have returned the case of journalist Nikolay Yarst for further investigation.  Police have charged Yarst, who exposed criminality and environmental depradation, with drug possession (blogsochi.ru/content/prokuratura-vernula-delo-nikolaya-yarsta-na-dorassledovanie).
Russian Political Prisoner Backs Blocking Sochi Games By Any Means Necessary. Boris Stomakhin says that the crimes of the Russian government and the failure of Moscow to respect the deaths of Circassians at Sochi in 1864 means that the Olympics must be stopped by any means necessary, including, he says, violence (ros-boloto.blogspot.com/2013/07/blog-post_7419.html?spref=fb).
Moscow’s Problem: Even Upbeat Stories about Sochi Mention Enormous Problems. An overwhelmingly positive story about Sochi in Men’s Journal highlights a problem Moscow faces in getting its version of events out.  Even journalists who write upbeat stories that reflect the Russian point of view feel compelled to mention all sorts of problems incudinig human rights violations, labor abuse and extraordinary costs (mensjournal.com/magazine/olympics-putin-style-20130723).
Moscow Photoshops Picture of Russian and Georgian Patriarchs with Sochi T-Shirt. Numerous viewers have concluded that Russian officials photoshopped a picture of the leaders of the two Orthodox churches to make it appear that they were holding a Sochi Olympiad t-shirt between them, conclusions that if true are the latest turn in the old story of “The Commissar Vanishes” (facebook.com/groups/antisochi/?hc_location=stream).
Cossacks to Patrol Sochi Olympiad.  Three hundred Kuban Cossacks will be paid 25,000 rubles (800 US dollars) a piece to patrol Sochi during the Olympics, something their leaders say is appropriate because in their words the Cossacks are “representatives of the indigenous population” (izvestia.ru/news/554180).
Kavkaz Uzel Sums Up Sochi Olympiad Problems.  The editors of the North Caucasus news agency sum up what has been reported so far about the ecological problems, the protests of the Circassians, spending and corruption, and the mistreatment of workers and the environment in and around Sochi (kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/221252/).
Khloponin Says North Caucasus Federal District Will Remain Unchanged After Sochi.  Responding to suggestions that Moscocw is waiting until after Sochi to make fundamental changes, Aleksandr Khloponin, presidential plenipotentiary for the North Caucasus federal district, says that no changes will be made even then and that the idea has not even been discussed among officials (sochinskie-novosti.com/2013/07/23/%D0%B3%D1%80%D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%B8%D1%86%D1%8B-%D1%84%D0%B5%D0%B4%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%B0%D0%BB%D1%8C%D0%BD%D1%8B%D1%85-%D0%BE%D0%BA%D1%80%D1%83%D0%B3%D0%BE%D0%B2-%D0%BD%D0%B5-%D0%B8%D0%B7%D0%BC%D0%B5%D0%BD%D1%8F%D1%82%D1%81%D1%8F-%D0%BF%D0%BE%D1%81%D0%BB%D0%B5-%D0%BE%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%BC%D0%BF%D0%B8%D0%B0%D0%B4%D1%8B-%D0%B2-%D1%81%D0%BE%D1%87%D0%B8-%D1%85%D0%BB%D0%BE%D0%BF%D0%BE%D0%BD%D0%B8%D0%BD/).
Moscow Ministry Admits Money for Sochi Being Diverted and Misused.  The Regional Development Ministry says that funds for projects in Vladivostok and the Sochi Games have been diverted and not spent as intended, but it says that the fault lies not with its officers but with those in other bureaucracies, an indication that officials are now being forced to defend themselves and are seeking the usual cover of blaming others (regnum.ru/news/polit/1686772.html and vedomosti.ru/realty/news/14358351/gosstroj-ostalsya-bezfundamenta).
Artist Behind ‘Welcome to Sochi’ Series Defends His Work, Says Ban has Made It Profitable.  Vasily Slonov, the artist who produced the controversial and ultimately banned series of “Welcome to Sochi” posters, says he was entirely within his rights and that the ban has made his posters so popular that he could easily make a fortune licensing them for t-shirts (rusrep.ru/article/2013/07/12/slonov).
Sochi Mayor Wants ‘Stability at Any Price.’ Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov has indicated that as the world famous mayor of the Olympic city, his task is to ensure stability regardless of what it takes, a message that is leading to violations of the law and increasing anger against him personally among Sochi residents (blogsochi.ru/content/udalennaya-statya-pakhomov-i-teplyakov-stabilnost-lyuboi-tsenoi).
Moscow Now Plans to Deploy 50,000 Troops at Sochi Games.  Nezavisimaya gazetareports that Moscow is now planning to deploy 50,000 members of the Russian armed services in addition to police and FSB security officers, an indication of Russia’s security concerns and commitment to ensure that there will not be any violence there (ng.ru/armies/2013-07-22/2_sochi.html andindrus.in/news/2013/07/20/emergencies_ministry_ready_for_2014_sochi_winter_olympics_-_puchkov_27301.html).
Russian Sports Minister Says Boycott Would be ‘Absolutely Stupid.’ Vitaly Mutko, Russia’s minster for sports, says that “sports should be separate from politics” and that it would be “absolutely stupid” for anyone to boycott the Sochi Olympics because of “the conviction of a Kremlin opponent or Mosco’s refusal to extradite fugitive Americann Edward Snowden” (chicagotribune.com/sports/chi-sochi-olympics-russia-snowden-20130719,0,6356019.story).
Moscow Commentators Suggest Kremlin Released Navalny Because of Sochi. Several Russian commentators have suggested that concerns about a boycott of the Sochi Olympics played a major role in the Kremlin’s decision to release opposition leader Aleksey Navalny (www.kcblog.info/2013/07/blog-post_9334.html).
Sochi Residents Demonstrate in Support of Navalny. Despite heavy rains, several hundred Sochi residents came out to a demonstration in support of Kremlin opponent Aleksey Navalny (blogsochi.ru/content/zhiteli-sochi-proveli-pod-dozhdem-aktsiyu-v-podderzhku-alekseya-navalnogo).
Sochi Olympic Chief Says Birth of Leopard Cubs ‘Proves Success’ of Sochi’s Environmental Plan. Dmitry Chernyshenko head of the Sochi Organizing Committee says that the birth of Persian leopard cubs in the Sochi National Park “for the first time in 50 years” demonstrates “the success” of his organization’s commitment to environmental protection,  PR Web reports (prweb.com/releases/2013/7/prweb10946477.htm).
Russian Athlete Accuses Foreigners of Planning to Cheat at Sochi.  A Russian bobsled competitor says that his team faces an uphill battle in Sochi because some foreign teams, including the Germans, have demonstrated that they are prepared to cheat to win (vesti-sochi.tv/olimpiada/18436-rossijskie-olimpijcy-gotovjatsja-k-nechestnoj-borbe).
New and Rushed Reconstruction of Sochi Infrastructure Highlights Lack of Planning. Sochi residents are outraged that only a few months before the games, contractors are tearing up the city to rebuild the infrastructure of the city, a pattern, the residents say, reflects the absence of planning and the danger that in a rush to finish not everything will be done to a high standard (sochinskie-novosti.com/%D0%B2%D1%80%D0%B5%D0%BC%D1%8F-%D1%83%D0%B1%D0%B8%D1%80%D0%B0%D1%82%D1%8C/).
Despite Official Promises, Sochi Still Far from Handicap Accessible.  Russian officials claim they living up to Olympic requirements and are making Sochi “the first city in Russia completely accessible for invalids,” but photographs posted online show that their claims are overstated and unlikely to be realized before the Sochi Games (russia.ru/news/society/2013/7/21/14097.html and  blogsochi.ru/content/dostupnaya-sreda-govorite).
Moscow Not About to Change its Policy toward Circassians, Activist Says.  A Circassian activist says Moscow”will hardly change its policy toward theCircassians because the ‘Circassian issue’ is a moral question above all,” one that Russian officials have shown they do not want opened (hekupsa.com/mnenie/intervyu/1057-andzor-kabard-rossiya-nikogda-ne-pojdet-nam-navstrechu).
Official Malfeasance in Sochi Can No Longer Be Ignored. In addition to being corrupt, Sochi officials routinely violate the law in other ways, including impeding investigations into high-profile crimes, and that is leading ever more residents to demand that something be done, with many now planning to vote out the mayor at the next election (blogsochi.ru/content/chi-eshche-prava-narushila-nonna-karadava-nachalnik-upravleniya-po-voprosam-semi-i-detstva-a and blogsochi.ru/content/kardava-narushila-zakon). Many of them now say the only way out is for a wholesale restructuring of the city administration. Just replacing one set of criminals with another won’t be enough (blogsochi.ru/content/nezavisimyi-vzglyad-na-upravlenie-yuzhnoi-stolitsei).
Sochi will be ‘A Harder Test,’ Medvedev Says.  At the closing ceremony of the Kazan Universiade, an event viewed as a test run for the Sochi Games, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that “Sochi is oing to be a harder test still.” He was referring to Russian prospects for victory in the athletic competition, but many are likely to see his words as having a rather broader meaning (en.ria.ru/sports/20130718/182301817/Russia-Finishes-Its-Dry-Run-for-Olympics.html).
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WINDOW ON EURASIA: SOCHI COUNTDOWN — 29 WEEKS TO THE OLYMPIAD IN THE NORTH CAUCASUS

WINDOW ON EURASIA: SOCHI COUNTDOWN — 29 WEEKS TO THE OLYMPIAD IN THE NORTH CAUCASUS

Note:  This is my 21st special Window on Eurasia about the meaning and impact of the planned Olympiad on the nations in the surrounding region.  These WOEs, which will appear each Friday over the coming year, will not aim at being comprehensive but rather will consist of a series bullet points about such developments.  I would like to invite anyone with special knowlege or information about this subject to send me references to the materials involved. My email address is paul.goble@gmail.com  Allow me to express my thanks to all those who already have. Paul Goble

US Senator Says US Should Boycott Sochi over Snowden Case. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) says that US should consider boycotting the Sochi Olympiad if Moscow gives political aylum to leader Edward Snowden.”I love the Olympics,but I had what the Russian government isdoing throughout the world,” he says, asking rhetorically, “if you could go bck in im would you have allowed Adolf Hitler to host the Olympics in Germany?” (thehill.com/blogs/global-affairs/europe/311421 and theblaze.com/stories/2013/07/17/lindsey-graham-suggests-u-s-should-boycott-russia-olympics-over-snowden-would-you-have-allowed-adolf-hitler-to-host/#).
Snowden Dismisses Graham as ‘Degenerate.’ Edward Snowden said from Moscow that Senator Graham’s proposal was ridiculous and that the senator was the kind of “degenerate” that one doesn’t encounter in the Russian capital (interfax.ru/world/news.asp?id=319080).
US House Speaker Boehner Says Graham ‘Dead Wrong’ about Sochi Boycott.  John Bohener said that Senator Lindsay Graham was “dead wrong” in proposing that the US boycott the Sochi Games over the Snowden case. “Why would we want to punish US athletes who have been training for three years to compete in the Olympics over a traitor who can’t fina place to call home?” (news.yahoo.com/olympics-boycott-edward-snowden-lindsey-graham-john-boehner-161935092.htmlrosbalt.ru/main/2013/07/17/1153864.htmlandhttp://rt.com/politics/olympics-sochi-boycott-outrage-210/).
US Olympic Committee Says Boycotting Sochi Would Not Benefit the US.  Patrick Sandusky, a representative of the US National Olympic Committeesays that any boycott of the Sochi Olympics would not benefit the United States or work as intended, as he suggested the US-led boycott of the Moscow Game showed (vesti-sochi.tv/olimpiada/18380-amerikanskij-nok-prizval-ne-povtorjat-v-sochi-neudachnyj-opyt-1980-goda)/
White House Says Boycotting Sochi ‘a Bad Idea.’ Jay Carney, a White House spokesman, says that any boycott of the Sochi Olympiad would be “a bad idea.” He added that Washington is continuing to talk with Moscow over the return of leaker Edward Snowden (polit.ru/news/2013/07/18/so4i/).
Sochi Boycott Would Be ‘Blow Beneath the Belt,’ Russian Commentator Says. Aleksandr Zhelenin, a commentator for Rosbalt.ru, says that any boycott of Sochi would be “a blow beneath the belt “because the Olympic gamesfor Putin are more than simply a sportiving event. They are about the prestige of the country and its status as he understands it.” Indeed, Zhelenin sys, “for Vladimir Putin, the Olympiad in Sochi is exactly what the Moscow Olympiad in 1980 was for the Brezhnev Politburo.”  Moreover, he continued, the 1980 boycott showed that no such effort will be effective (www.rosbalt.ru/main/2013/07/17/1153847.html).
Nemtsov Calls for Boycotting 2014 Football Championship in Belarus.  “Western sportsmen and diplomats should not go to Minsk until [Belarusian leader] Alyaksandr Lukashenka releases all political prisoners,” according to Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov who earlier called for a boycott of the Sochi Games and now says that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “a true student of Lukashenka” who “is copying in Russia all the methods of the Belarusian authoritarian ruler” (news.tut.by/politics/357849.html).
Sochi Officials Announce Fines for Putting Laundry on Balconies and ‘Asymmetric’ Airconditioners … In an effort to spruce up their city before the Olympics, Sochi officials have announced fines for anyone who hands laundry on the balconies of their apartments or for residents of buildings where the air conditions are installed haphazardly rather than in a balanced pattern (themoscowtimes.com/olympic_coverage/article/sochi-residents-face-pre-olympic-laundry-crackdown/483270.html
… But Photoshop Picture of City Hall to Hide Its ‘Asymmetric’ Airconditioners. After issuing their order to city residents, officials in the Sochi administration used photoshop technology to hide the fact the city hall has some of the most “asymmetric” airconditioiners of any building in the area. Residents joke that apparently the mayor plans to photoshop out of existence all the other problems they face as well (blogsochi.ru/content/fotoshopit-%E2%80%93-ne-meshki-vorochat).
Sochi Residents Demonstrate Against Illegal Building After City Ignores Complaints. Residents of the Khosti district of Sochi staged a public protest to demand that a building exceeding height requirements be torn down. They took this step after Sochi Mayo Anatoly Pakhomov repeatedly ignored their appeals (blogsochi.ru/content/zhiteli-khosty-vyshli-na-miting-protiv-nezakonnoi-vysotki and blogsochi.ru/content/khosta-perenimaet-estafetu-u-kudepsty-idem-na-miting).
Cossacks Not Circassians to Be Featured at Sochi Olympics.  Sochi organizers say that the Kuban Cossack Choir will sing at the opening and closing ceremonies of the Sochi Games; they have made no announcement about any role for Circassians groups who have pressed for representation under IOC rules (vesti-sochi.tv/olimpiada/18233-kubanskij-kazachij-hor-vystupit-na-otkrytii-i-zakrytii-olimpiady-2014). Russian commentators continue to discuss whether the Circassians and their campaign represent “a threat” to the Sochi competition in any way (kavkazoved.info/news/2013/07/13/cherkesskij-vopros-kak-ugroza-olimpiade-2014.html andrus.ruvr.ru/radio_broadcast/104595944/227172192/). Moscow’s failure to include Circassian symbols is especially hurtful now given that the Russian government is reportedly considering making a Komi moose the symbol of upcoming football championships (regnum.ru/news/sport/1682978.html).
Circassians Hold Joint Meeting in Maykop, Plan for One in Istanbul.  North Caucasus Circassians, many of whom object to the holding of the Olympiad where their ancestors were subjected to a genocide, held a coordination meeting in Mayko and have called for an international session in Turkey in October (hekupsa.com/cherkesiya/sobytiya/1028-v-majkope-proshlo-zasedanie-koordinatsionnogo-soveta).
Despite Moscow’s Promises, History Suggests Sochi Site Will Be Abandoned. Russian officials have insisted that facilities being built for the Sochi Games will be heavily used after the competition, a claim that they use to suggest that the Olympiad itself is not costing as much as many say. But an examination of past Olympics suggests that their claims are likely overblown: “The infamous Nazi Olympic Village remains abandoned 77 years later,, but what is even more startling,” the Huffington Post noted, “is the fact htat the venues from the 2004 Olympics in Athens and 2008 in Beijing are just as haunting” (huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/15/abandoned-olympic-venues_n_3580868.html).
Moscow’s Push on Kazan and Sochi Making Country a Laughingstock, Russian Says. In an article on Maxpark.com, Dmitry Zotikov says the way in which the Russian government has organized the competitions in Kazan – using professionals against amateurs from other countries – and in Sochi where it is to host a winter Olympics in the subtropics is making the country a laughingstock not only among Russians but around the world. “Earlier people feared and respected Russia. But now they laugh about it,” he observed (maxpark.com/user/1224334622/content/2091142).
‘Economist’ Compares Sochi Gigantomania to Khrushchev’s Corn Campaign. Britain’s “Economist” magazine says that Vladimir Putin’s campaign to host a winter Olympics in the subtropics recalls Soviet river reversal schemes, building cities in the inhospitable north, and Nikita Khrushchev’s efforts to plan corn in lattitudes where it would not grow (www.economist.com/blogs/charlemagne/2013/07/rocky-road-sochi and
Russian Senator Wants to Ban Foreigners from Working in or Profiting from Sochi Games. Kuran Senator Sergey Lisovsky has prepared a draft law that would prevent any foreigner from working on the Sochi Olympic facilities or profiting from such construction or the games themselves, a measure that is unlikely to pass – if it did, construction would not be finished in time and many foreign companies would have to pull out leading to disorder – but that reflects the growing nationalism of Russian politicians (http://izvestia.ru/news/553430 and2014.info/news/olimpiada-2014-dlya-russkix/).
After Sochi, Moscow Won’t Have Money for North Caucasus, Turkish Writer Says.A commentator in “Today’s Zaman” says that the Russian government is spending so much money on the Sochi Games and especially on security that “official Moscow will not be able to invest the same kind of money in the region. Moscow will face a dilemma: if they cannot continue to provide financial support to the local elites – buying their loyalty … — the Salafi movement will win the hearts and minds of the local population” (todayszaman.com/columnist-321093-the-north-caucasus-as-a-buffer-zone.html).
Discussion of Border Changes in North Caucasus Continues Unabated. While there is near universal agreement that Moscow won’t change the borders in the North Caucasus until after the Olympics lest such a step further destabilize the area, that has not stopped speculation on just what those changes might look like, speculation that by itself is exacerbating the situation (kavkaz-news.net/analitika/29560-razvitie-severnogo-kavkaza-po-novomu-scenariyu.html). In Stavropol, for example, suggestions about border changes are generating “hysteria,” one commentator says (kavpolit.com/ot-mertvogo-osla-ushi/).
Sochi Boosting Biometric Business in Russia.  Moscow’s efforts to secure the Winter Olympics in Sochi and other sports competitions is driving up the Russian biometrics market, according to a new study with investments in that sector of nearly 400 million US dollars expected over the next five years there (planetbiometrics.com/article-details/i/1654/).
Widespead Corruption in Russian Police at Sochi Seen Helping Islamist Groups. Continuing corruption scandals involving Russian police in Sochi are being used by Islamist groups to attract new recruits, local experts say.  As a result, one part of Russia’s force structures by their behavior is undercutting the work of other parts which say their chief targets are radical Islamist militants in the areas around the Olympic site (kavpolit.com/lyudi-v-pogonax-pomogayut-umarovu/).
Georgians Cooperate on Sochi to Avoid Russian Charges They’re Behind Any Terrorist Plot.  Zurab Abashidze, Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says that Georgia is taking part in the Sochi Games lest Moscow accuse it of “creating problems” should any occur (vestnikkavkaza.net/articles/politics/42634.html). Thomas de Waal, a Carnegie expert on the region, concurs (carnegie.ru/eurasiaoutlook/?fa=52424&lang=en).
 Sochi Residents Draft Declaration ‘Against Illegality and Arbitrariness’ by Officials. Fed up with official malfeasance and unkept promises, residents of Sochi have drafted a declaration calling for an end to illegal actions and arbitrary behavior and urging a broad official inquiry by Moscow into what is taking place  They plan to hold a meeting on August 3 to press their agenda (blogsochi.ru/content/proekt-rezolyutsii-mitinga-%C2%ABprotiv-bezzakoniya-i-proizvola-v-olimpiiskom-sochi%C2%BB). Many Sochi residents are fed up with water and power cutoffs, the destruction of streets, and blocked access to their beaches and no longer trust the government to solve these problems (blogsochi.ru/content/prokhod-k-moryu-net-ne-slyshali blogsochi.ru/content/ooo-sochivodokanal-otkrytoe-pismo-entinu-sergeyu-vladimirovichu-generalnomu-direktorublogsochi.ru/content/sochi-mozhet-ostatsya-bez-goryachei-vody-iz-za-dolgov-sochiteploenegoblogsochi.ru/content/zamestitel-predsedatelya-pravitelstva-rf-o-podzemnykh-perekhodakh-v-sochi,  sochi-24.ru/obshestvo/druzhby-ne-poluchilos.2013712.65407.htmland  blogsochi.ru/content/kak-zhit-dalshe-0).
Sochi Mayor Says Olympic Construction has Created ‘New Ecological Situation’ and ‘New Energy Situation.’  Sochi Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov says that construction for the Sochi games has created “a new ecological situation” and “a new energy situation,” something with which his fiercest critics completely agree (blogsochi.ru/content/anatolii-pakhomov-na-otkrytii-razvyazki-%C2%ABaeroport%C2%BB,npr.org/2013/07/12/201385718/environmentalists-warn-olympic-games-will-harm-sochi, andblogsochi.ru/content/antimenedzhment).
Students Brought to Sochi to Help with Construction Poorly Housed and Fed. A video is circulating showing that students from around the Russian Federation who have been brought to the Olympic city to work on construction projects are being housed in poorly constructed barracks and otherwise mistreated by their employers (blogsochi.ru/content/na-olimpiiskoi-stroike-studenty-zhivut-v-barakakh).
Russian Anger at Sochi Spending Rises as Economic Crisis Bites. Sociologists say that Russian anger at the massive spending on the Sochi Olympics is increasing as the economic crisis bites and poverty rises and that if conditions continue to deteriorate, this anger is likely to spill over into demonstrations and protests (sochinskie-novosti.com/2013/07/15/%D0%BE%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%BC%D0%BF%D0%B8%D0%B0%D0%B4%D0%B0-%D0%BF%D1%80%D0%BE%D0%B2%D0%BE%D1%86%D0%B8%D1%80%D1%83%D0%B5%D1%82-%D0%B0%D0%B3%D1%80%D0%B5%D1%81%D1%81%D0%B8%D1%8E-%D0%B2%D0%BB%D0%B0%D1%81%D1%82%D0%B5%D0%B9/   andhttp://lenta.ru/news/2013/07/16/poor/).
Gay Athlete Pledges to Go to Sochi Come What May.  Blake Skjellerup, a New Zealand speed skater, says he will wear a rainbow pin at the Sochi Games to symbolize the rights of all homosexuals like himself to compete. “If it gets me in trouble” with Russian officials whose government recently adopted an anti-gay law, he says, “then I guess so be it” (sanfranciscosentinel.com/?p=171011).
Orthodox Activist Sparks Controversy by Denouncing Olympic Festivities as Pagan.Deacon Andrey Kurayev, a frequent Russian Orthodox commentator, has sparked controversy by complaining that the opening festivities of the Olympic Games are a pagan worship service, something even his usual Russian nationalist allies find appalling and absurd (ntv.ru/novosti/629879/ and  zavtra.ru/content/view/olimpiada-i-o-andrej-kuraev/).
Islamist Radicals Carry Out ‘Information Jihad’ at Kazan.  Russian experts say that Islamists did not launch any terrorist attacks during the Kazan Universiade but instead chose to conduct what they call “an information jihad,” passing out information about their goals and calling for contributions to support those fighting the Asad government in Syria.  They also made the point, the Russian officials said, that the athletic competition was taking place “on the blood of the Tatar people” (scienceport.ru/news/Nesportivnoe-povedenie-8163.html).
Kazan Mayor Says Residents Will Be Asked about Olympic Bid.  Kazan Mayor Ilsur Metshin says that any effort by his city to pursue a 2024 Olympic bid will require the backing of Kazan residents (en.rsport.ru/olympics/20130717/674306222.html). As a recent negative vote in Switzerland shows, local people often oppose holding such disruptive events (reuters.com/article/2013/03/03/us-olympics-swiss-idUSBRE9220CK20130303). Sochi residents were never asked whether they wanted the games or not (specletter.com/obcshestvo/2013-07-11/neveselye-starty.html)..
Kazan Games Were ‘Boring,’ Fan Says.  Moscow’s decision to use professionals in order to ensure victory over amateurs from other countries ensured that the Kazan Universiade was “boring,” something which not only leads to the death of sports but a complete loss of attention to such competitions (gmichailov.livejournal.com/419775.html androsbalt.ru/federal/2013/07/11/1151565.html).
Kazan Universiad Suffered from Seven Deadly Shortcomings, Moscow Site Says.  The just-completed Kazan games, treated by all as a test for the Sochi Olympics, was a disaster in seven ways, according to Slon.ru.  It failed to attract the world’s attention, its medals were so poorly made that they broke, it featured sports no one had ever heard of, it involved Soviet-style “forced volunteerism,” it disrupted the life of the city, it featured empty seats despite claims that all tickets had been sold, and it cost far too much, although no one yet knows just how much (slon.ru/russia/nesportivnaya_universiada_7_nelepykh_novostey_iz_kazani-965202.xhtml).
Officials Don’t Mention Tragic Anniversary but Kazan Residents Remember.  Exactly two years before the Kazan University Games, a passenger ship sank near Kazan killing 122 people including 28 children. Officials went out of their way to ignore that anniversary, but residents of the Tatarstan capital recalled it, according to Ruslan Aysin, a local political scientist. That experience shows how difficult it is to paper over a past tragedy however hard officials may try (wordyou.ru/kolonki/dve-bulgarii-splelis-voedino.html).
Kazan Games Didn’t Promote Patriotism But Undercut It, Moscow Paper Says. “Moskovsky komsomolets” says that the Russian government’s hope that the Kazan University Games would generate a new wave of patriotism was dashed. In fact, the games had just the opposite effect, increasing cynicism about a government that seems out of touch and prepared to spend money on useless projects when popular needs are not being met (mk.ru/specprojects/free-theme/article/2013/07/16/884739-deviz-universiadyi-sila-est-uma-nenado.html).
Putin Now Wants to Hold 2019 Universiade in Krasnoyarsk, One of the Most Polluted Cities on Earth.  The Kazan Universiade just completed and “the Winter Olympics in the Subtropics” still ahead, Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for holding the 2019 University Games in Krasnoyarsk, a city with some of the worst air and water pollution in the world, apparently as another occasion for massive spending on the total transformation of a venue that is anything but ready for such a competition (novayagazeta.ru/politics/59114.html).
Russian Economist Appalled by Spending on Sochi.  Sergey Zhavoronkov, a senior economist at the Moscow Institute of Economic Policy, says he is appalled by what he calls “the insane spending” on public relations projects like the Asia Pacific summit in Vladivostok and the Sochi games, projects that will bring few real returns and are especially unsupportable during periods of economic hardship (specletter.com/obcshestvo/2013-07-11/neveselye-starty.html).
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WINDOW ON EURASIA: SOCHI COUNTDOWN — 30 WEEKS TO THE OLYMPIAD IN THE NORTH CAUCASUS

WINDOW ON EURASIA: SOCHI COUNTDOWN — 30 WEEKS TO THE OLYMPIAD IN THE NORTH CAUCASUS

Note:  This is my 20th special Window on Eurasia about the meaning and impact of the planned Olympiad on the nations in the surrounding region.  These WOEs, which will appear each Friday over the coming year, will not aim at being comprehensive but rather will consist of a series bullet points about such developments.  I would like to invite anyone with special knowlege or information about this subject to send me references to the materials involved. My email address is paul.goble@gmail.com  Allow me to express my thanks to all those who already have. Paul Goble
Sochi Resembles ‘Communist-Era Construction Project,’ Economist Says.Construction for the Sochi Olympic Games recalls Soviet construction efforts with their enormous cost overruns ,poor quality work, and the abuse of workers, the Economist says. It quotes AllisonSteward of the SAID Business School in Oxford as having concluded that cost overruns in Sochi are running at 500 percent, almost three times the rate of previous Olympiads with most of the excess being drained off by corruption. Moreover, what has been built is of poor quality: The weekly notes that the ski jump alone has had to be rebuilt “many times” because it was not constructed properly in the first place. And again as in Soviet times but in some respects even worse, the workers in Sochi are poorly paid, overworked, and with few normal labor protections (economist.com/news/europe/21581764-most-expensive-olympic-games-history-offer-rich-pickings-select-few-castles).
Sochi Mayor and His Wife ‘Officially Now Twice as Rich as the Putins.’  Following declarations by Mayor Antaoly Pakhomov about his own income and that of his wife, Sochi residents have concluded that the Pakhomovs are “officially” twice as rich as the Putins, but they of course recognize that Pakhomov probably declared more of his wealth than the Russian president ever has. Nevertheless, the Pakhomovs have done well, and the people of his city clearly believe that they have profited corruptly from the Olympiad construction effort. One reason for their suspicions on that point is that the city has declared at various points that Sochi officials deserve high incomes because of the importance of their work. In the words of one Sochi blogger, they clearly believe that there should be Olympic-size paychecks for Olympic city officials (blogsochi.ru/content/semya-mera-sochi-okazalas-ofitsialno-vdvoe-bogache-semei-putina-i-medvedeva).
Circassian Activist Calls for Alternative Nart Olympiad.  Because Moscow is holding an Olympics on the site of the genocide of the Circassians in 1864, the Circassians should organiean alternative Nart Olympics to attract athletes of the world to a competition that would highlight rather than obscure the crimes Russian officials have committed in the North Caucasus (adigasite.com/archives/2821).
Yet Another Sochi Official Charged with Corruption.  As has been the case almost every week for the last three months, another Sochi city official has been charged with corruption apparently because he took money from wealthy private interests to approve illegal construction projects. Despite these arrests, which the local media have played up, the situation does not seem to have improved. Indeed, in some cases, those who replaced officials arrested earlier are now being charged with similar crimes (blogsochi.ru/content/eshche-odin-chinovnik-administratsii-anatoliya-pakhomova-vzyat-pod-strazhu).
Underground Infrastructure in Sochi Seriously Compromised by Soil and Water Problems.  To support Olympic construction, builders have had to install an enormous network of water, sewage and electrical lines below ground, but ground water and unsteady soil conditions have compromised much of this work leading to regular breakdowns which often require tearing up large parts of the city in order to fix (blogsochi.ru/content/inzhenernye-kommunikatsii-v-imeretinskoi-nizmennosti-sochi).
European Visitors Shocked by Open Sewage Lines in Sochi.  A group of Italians visiting Sochi to see that country’s business center office there were “shocked” by the open sewer lines and the resulting smell in front of that building. Such open sewers exist in various parts of the city, the result of both overly-rapid excavation of streets for Olympic construction and shoddy building practices (blogsochi.ru/content/italyantsy-shokirovany-kanalizatsionnymi-stokami-na-tsentralnykh-ulitsakh-sochi).
Water Disruptions in Sochi Seen Contributing to Spread of Disease. Sochi residents have been accustomed to daily power cutoffs, but now they face another problem: many of them are not getting running water on a regular basis, something that many of them fear will not only make life unpleasant in that subtropical city during the warmest months but lead to the spread of meningitis and other diseases because of the difficulties of maintaining sanitation with inadequate water supplies (blogsochi.ru/content/limit-na-vodopotreblenie-ili-profilaktika-meningita and http://forum-msk.org/material/news/9963935.html ).
Sochi Promises to Build ‘Ethnographic Complex.’ City officials say they will build an ethnographic complex in Krasnaya Polyana to highlight the diversity of the peoples of Russia, an apparent concession to Olympic rules requiring attention to local cultures and Circassian demands that the Olympics make reference during the competition to the tragic history of that nation.  So far, however, officials have given no details on what this complex will look like, who will pay for it, and consequently whether it will in fact ever be built (sochi-24.ru/nedvizhimost/v-sochi-namechaetsya-stroitelstvo-krupnogo-kulturno-etnograficheskogo-kompleksa.2013710.65325.html).
Russian Ice Hockey Team Priced Out of Sochi Arena, Must Practice Elsewhere.  The Russian ice hockey team cannot afford the high prices operators of the Sochi arena have set and will practice elsewhere, possibly in Europe.  Prices are so high at least in part because of the costs of providing ice in that subtropical city (www.echo.msk.ru/blog/nemtsov_boris/1110994-echo/echo.msk.ru/blog/statya/1110986-echo/ and blogsochi.ru/content/vedomosti-zachem-rossiiskim-khokkeistam-led).
Sochi Port to Become Yacht Basin. In yet another indication that the reconstruction of Sochi is not intended to benefit all Russians but rather only the very rich, oligarch Oleg Deripaska has announced that he will be transforming part of the Sochi port into a yacht basin with docks for 600 to 700 ships (blogsochi.ru/content/imeretinskii-port-pereprofiliruyut-v-yakhtennuyu-marinu).
Medals Break at Kazan Universiade; Officials Promise Replacements,No Problems at Sochi. More than 3,000 medals awarded at the Kazan World University Games have been recalle after two of them shattered when they were accidentally dropped. Russian officials announced that a different firm will be making the medals for the Sochi Olympiad (en.rsport.ru/other_sports/20130709/672673136.html).
Kazan Universiade Recruits Former Spy Anna Chapman to be VIP Guide.  Anna Chapman, former Russian spy and more recently notorious for her offer to marry US leaker Edward Snowden, has been recruited by the organizers of the Kazan Universiade to serve as a special “VIP guide” at the competition (newsland.com/news/detail/id/1208680/).
Ramadan Rules Restrict Muslim Athletes at Kazan Universiade.  Muslims taking part in the Kazan competitions face a double challenge – the month of Ramadan means they are not supposed to eat during daylight hours, and Kazan’s northern location means that it is light almost 18 hours a day.  Some are simply violating the Muslim holiday’s rules, saying they will follow them after the competition, but many will not do that and say that as a result, they have not been able to give their best efforts (en.rsport.ru/oher_sports/20130709/672670710.html).
Human Rights Violations Widespread in Kazan During Universiade, Tatars Say. Russian officials have violated the rights of residents and visitors during the Universiade in the name of security. They have singled out Muslims for particular attention, the Tatar Center says (tatar-centr.blogspot.com/2013/07/blog-post_5.html ).
Algerian Soccer Team Refuses to Fly to Kazan.  Apparently out of concerns about terrorism, members of the Algerian soccer team refused to fly to Kazan for the Universaide. According to some Tatars, they should not have worried because Russian officials have “introduced de facto martial law” in the Middle Volga city (tatar-centr.blogspot.ru/2013/07/blog-post_7.html).
Kazan Universiade Second Tier and Boring, Moscow Writer Says.  According to one Moscow commentator, the Kazan World University Games have failed to attrack first-tier athletes and thus are boring for fans like himself. In many ways, Anton Orekh says, the whole idea of the games recalls Soviet-era practices in its pompous ceremonialism and the forced volunteering of locals tomake sure that the competition in fact taks place.  Such an approach will continue in Russia, he adde, until Russsians complain about “billions” being spent on advertising and benefitting only the top and demand that such money be spent on collecting trash rather than holding Olympic games (ej.ru/?a=note&id=13083). A review of blogger comment on the Kazan competitions which are widely viewed as preparation for Sochi finds that many Russians already share that view (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=51DAAA9855B6C).
Kazan Hasn’t Gained as Much from Universiade as Moscow Promised.  Residents of the Tatarstan capital will be glad when the competition is over but even then they will face problems: underpasses that fill up with water every time it rains, inaccessible venues, and what many there believe are increasingly unsafe subways (echo.msk.ru/blog/statia_iz_regiona/1109826-echo/).
Mongol Conquest Didn’t Destroy More Flora and Fauna Than Sochi Construction Has. A Russian nationalist commentator observes that “the Mongol yoke” may have done a lot of damage to Russia but it didn’t destroy as much of the natural environment or those who seek to defend it as the builders of the Sochi Olympics have. The official structure intended to protect the environment there has been disbanded, and individual activists are rushing in to try to save particularly rare species (rus-obr.ru/ru-web/25292 andblogsochi.ru/content/%C2%ABrasteniya-prokhodyat-adaptatsiyu-na-novom-meste-pod-prismotrom-sochinskikh-uchenykh%C2%BB).
Ukrainian Paper Says Sochi Security Cooperation Highlights Differences between Russian and Western Approaches.  An article in “Tyzden” says that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s push for security cooperation with the West to protect the Sochi games from terrorism has had the unitntended consequence of highlighting the contrasting purposes and methods of the security services in Russia and those in Western countries (hekupsa.com/publikatsii/kavkaz/1012-khaos-na-severnom-kavkaze).
Security Threats to Sochi Profit Center for Western Firms.The Security Information Watch site, which provides information to businesses specializing in security installations, says that security threats to Sochi and other Russian cities are so great that Western firms can hope to profit from the billions of US dollars that Moscow intends to spend protecting them now and in the future (securityinfowatch.com/news/10983201/russian-infrastructure-investments-for-2014-sochi-winter-olympics-and-2018-fifa-world-cup-to-pay-dividends-for-security-integrators).
Sochi Mayor Promises to Build Animal Protection Center. Having been stung by his earlier plans to kill homeless cats and dogs to “clean up” the Olympic city, Sochi Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov has told animal rights activists that he favors building a pound where they can be held pending adoption. But activists are uncertain whether he will ever provide the funds or the approval for this project and some fear this is only a PR effort to distract attention from the earlier program (vk.com/wall-39108476_3572livekuban.ru/node/517957 andprivetsochi.ru/blog/news_sochi/31226.html).
Sochi Train Derails Because Tracks Warped by Heat.  A passenger train from Siberia to Sochi derailed after extreme heat warped the tracks. More than 70 people on the train were injured (guardianlv.com/2013/07/russian-train-derails-on-way-to-sochi/).
French Paper Says Terrorist Act in Sochi Would Hurt Putin’s ‘Creditworthiness.’ An article in Le Figaro says that Russian President Vladimir Putin will do everything he can to prevent a terrorist act in Sochi in the first instance because such an event would harm his “creditworthiness” (lefigaro.fr/jeux-olympiques/2013/07/03/02020-20130703ARTSPO00502-menaces-sur-sotchi.php).
Sochi Residents Outraged by Privatization, Legal and Illegal, of Access to Beaches. Sochi residents and many visitors are upset that the authorities have allowed private individuals to block access to what had been public beaches. Some of them say that this returns the city to where it was before 1917 when only members of the Russian elite were allowed to bathe there and local Muslim groups were kept out (blogsochi.ru/content/teper-k-moryu-tolko-cherez-karachaevskuyu-kukhnyu , blogsochi.ru/content/plyazhi-na-prodazhu-kto-i-pochemu-lishaet-nas-zakonnogo-dostupa-k-vodeblogsochi.ru/content/zazabore andblogsochi.ru/content/razvitie-torgovo-roznichnoi-seti-v-gorode-sochi).
Moscow to Deploy 37,000 Police for Sochi Olympiad.  The Russian interior ministry says that it will field 37,000 Russian policemen during the games to ensure security as part of “a multi-layer security system” that officials say is “fully compatible with demands of the International Olympic Committee” (sportsnet.ca/more/russia-to-employ-37000-officers-for-sochi-2014/  and scienceport.ru/news/Kontrolnaya-rabota-8113.html).
US State Department Warns LGBTs of Problems in Russia.  The State Departent says that “discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is widespread” in the Russian Federation and urges all US LGBT citizens to enroll in the departments Smart Traveller Enrollment Program (metroweekly.com/elsewhere/2013/07/russia-puts-up-pink-curtain-lgbt-travelers-told-to-take-caution.html ).
European Gays Call for “Meaningful Actions Against Russia.”  The International Lesbian, Gay,Bisexual Trans and Intersex Association of Europe has called on international organiations to condemn Russia’s anti-homosexual legislation and practice and consider “meaningful actions” against Moscow to force it to change. Some Gay activists have suggested that one possible step would be a boycott of the Sochi Olympics (http://www.metroweekly.com/elsewhere/2013/07/russia-puts-up-pink-curtain-lgbt-travelers-told-to-take-caution.html).
Not One of 11 Russsian Cities Ready for 2018 Championships,’ Moscow Official Says.  Vitaly Mutko, the Russian Federation’s minister for sports, says that not a single one of the 11 Russian cities where the 2018 competition is supposed to take place is currently ready (regnum.ru/news/polit/1680739.html).
Russian Candidate for IOC Chief Calls for Cost-Cutting Measures in Future Games. Sergey Bubka, a former Olympic pole vault champion who is now running for the presidency of the IOC says that costs for Olympiads have become too great and that cost-cutting measures should be implemented in the case of future  competitions en.rsport.ru/olympics/20130705/671890349.html  and rsport.ru/interview/20130705/671871639.html).
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WINDOW ON EURASIA: SOCHI COUNTDOWN — 31 WEEKS TO THE OLYMPIAD IN THE NORTH CAUCASUS

WINDOW ON EURASIA: SOCHI COUNTDOWN — 31 WEEKS TO THE OLYMPIAD IN THE NORTH CAUCASUS

Note:  This is my 19th special Window on Eurasia about the meaning and impact of the planned Olympiad on the nations in the surrounding region.  These WOEs, which will appear each Friday over the coming year, will not aim at being comprehensive but rather will consist of a series bullet points about such developments.  I would like to invite anyone with special knowlege or information about this subject to send me references to the materials involved. My email address is paul.goble@gmail.com  Allow me to express my thanks to all those who already have. Paul Goble
Militant Calls on His Followers to Use Any Methods Necessary to Block Sochi Games. Doku Umarov, the self-styled leader of the anti-Moscow North Caucaus Imamate, says that he and his followers are ending their moratorium on terrorist attacks against Russians in order to take actions to prevent the Sochi Games, which he said should not take place at the site of the genocide of so many North Caucasian Muslims in the 19th century. Circassian and other groups in the region denounced this call for terrorism, saying that they believe using legal means against the competition will be more effective (kavkazjihad.com/ru/kavkaz/amir-ik-dokku-abu-usman-otmenil-moratorij-na-operatsii-v-rossii-i-prizval-ne-dopustit-olimpiady-v-sochi.html and bigcaucasus.com/events/topday/03-07-2013/84249-boston_sochi_scenarii-0/).
Moscow to ‘Tighten the Screws’ in the North Caucaus After Umarov’s Threat, Experts Say. Experts surveyed by Kavkaz-uzel.ru say that Moscow has no choice but to “tighten the screws” in the North Caucasus after Doku Umarov said he would use force to disrupt the Sochi Olympics, a threat that may frighten away many fans and that the militant or one of his allies may be able to carry out (kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/226570/www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/226558/ and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/07/window-on-eurasia-umarovs-threat-to.html).
Guaranteeing Security at Sochi Hard With Militants Nearby, Soldatov Says. Andrey Soldatov, editor of Agentura.ru and one of Moscow’s most prominent independent security experts, says that “it is complicated to guarantee the security of the Olympid in  region next door to where militants are to be found (kommersant.ru/doc/2225593).
Kadyrov Promises to Destroy Umarov Before Sochi Games.  Ramzan Kadyrov, head of Chechnya, says heis “certain that we will destroy him” before the Sochi competition. We are looking for him every day” but have not yet been able to local him (kavpolit.com/kadyrov-my-unichtozhim-umarova-do-olimpiady-v-sochi/).
‘Militants Preparing for Sochi Olympics No Less than Russian Government,’ Demushkin Says. Dmitry Demushkin, a Russian nationalist politician says that Doku Umarov’s threat to stage a terrorist attack at Sochi shows that the anti-Moscow underground has been preparing for the Olympics every bit as much as have the Russian authorities (mosmonitor.ru/articles/articles/dmitriy_dyomushkin_boeviki_gotovyatsya_k_olimpiade_v_sochi_ne_menshe_chem_rossiyskoe_pravitelstvo).
Patrushev Says Many Governments Will Be Helping to Provide Security at Sochi.  At an international security conferremce in Vladivostok, Nikolay Patrushev, the head of Russia’s Security Council, says that special services from many countries are already making plans to ensure that the Sochi Games will be safe from a terrorist attact. Among them will be officials from the United States (gazetenka.com/news/society/ssha_podderzhat_rossiyu_v_obespechenii_bezopasnosti_na_olimpiyskikh_igrakh_v_sochi/  andpanarmenian.net/eng/news/164544/Officials_pledge_2014_Sochi_Olympics_safety_after_terror_threats ).
FSB Checking Links Between Officials and Militants in Daghestan.  In an indication that Moscow is growing more concerned about the terrorist challenge in the North Caucasus in advance of the Sochi Olympiad, the FSB is investigating financial and other links between militant groups and regional officials, links that could make it far more difficult to prevent violent attacks (warsonline.info/severniy-kavkaz/fsb-proveryaet-vlasti-dagestana-na-svyazi-s-boevikami.html).
Sochi Olympics Wont’t Be Safe for LGBT Community, Activists Warn … RUSA LGBT activists warn that the Sochi games will not be safe for members of the LGBT community because of the anti-gay law signed by President Vladimir Putin that imposes fines and jail trim on anyone deemed to have enagedd in “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations. “We want to know how IOC they can ensure this in a country with state-sponsored homophobia backed by federal law? How can one attend the Sochi Olympics without compromising one’s integrity by supporting the economy of a country that promotes hate against the LGBT community?” (ibtimes.com/sochi-2014-olympics-unsafe-lgbt-community-under-russias-anti-gay-law-activists-warn-1334223).
… Travel Agency Site Says Russia’s Anti-Gay Law Sweeping in Its Implications…eTurboNews says that It is now literally illegal in Russia to say that you are gay. It is illegal to kiss your partner in public — say, after you win a gold medal. It is illegal for a gay athlete to wear the rainbow flag. Or even to acknowledge during an interview that they are gay — or for the foreign press to acknowledge it — unless they mention that gay sexual orientation in a negative way.” (eturbonews.com/35850/gay-tourists-russia-subject-arrest-after-putin-outlaws-anything-).
…As Gay Activists Call for Boycotts, Withdrawal of Sponsorship, and End to Sister City Ties…  Some gay righs activists have called for a boycott of the Sochi Olympia, whileothers have urged corporate sponsors lik Coca-Cola, VISA, Omega Watches, Proctor and Gamble, and Panasonic to withdraw their support for the compettion and clled on cities with Sister City relationships with Russian counterparts to drop or at least suspend those ties to protest the anti-Gay measure (ibtimes.com/sochi-2014-olympics-unsafe-lgbt-community-under-russias-anti-gay-law-activists-warn-1334223 and turbonews.com/35850/gay-tourists-russia-subject-arrest-after-putin-outlaws-anything-).
…And Poll Shows Support for Boycott.  According to an informal poll conducted by Britain’s Guardian newspaper, 56 percent of its readers said that the United States should not take part in the Sochi Olympics because of Moscow’s new anti-gay legislation (ibtimes.com/sochi-2014-olympics-unsafe-lgbt-community-under-russias-anti-gay-law-activists-warn-1334223).
Circassians Said Shifting from Seeking Sochi Boycott to Demanding Presence at Games.  According to a German radio station, Circassians, who oppose the Sochi Games because they will take place on the site of the 1864 genocide of their ancestors, are now shifting away from earlier demands that the international community boycott the games and instead are demanding that information about the Circassians and their problems be prominently displayed during the competition. In fact, many Circassian groups are still calling for a boycott (dradio.de/dlf/sendungen/sport/2160424/ ).
Circassians Press Their Case on Sochi at European Parliament.  Circassians and their European supporterstold members of the Europen Parliament about the plight of their people and the reasons that the Sochi Olympics is an insult to them because it is on the site of the 1864 genocide of their ancestors (euroxase.com/circassianday/index20130628.php).
Russian Officials Publish Special Directive for fighting Extremism among Circassians.  Ekaterina Ageyeva of the North Caucasus Center for Ethno-Political Research, has published guidelines on how to combat those who use “the Circassian issue” in advance of the Sochi Olympics in order to prevent “an escalation of tensions, extremism and terrorism” there (kavkazoved.info/news/2013/06/27/ageeva-profilaktika-ekstremizma-v-molodezhnoj-srede-skfo.html).
Putin’s ‘Impassioned Speeches in English and French’ Helped Sochi Win Games. Aleksandr Zhukov, head of the Russian Olympic Committee, says on the sixth anniversary of the IOC’s decision to award the Olympic Games to Sochi that “impassioned speeches in English and French” by President Vladimir Putin “didn’t go amiss” in securing the games for the southern Russian city.  “In Sochi, there was othing. Everything we showed was computer models, in contrast to Salzburg and Pyeongchang, where you could see many of the existing facilities with your own eyes” (en.rsport.ru/olympics/20130704/671746515.html).
Chernyshenko Says Sochi Games will be ‘More Effective’ than Earlier Olympiads. Dmitry Chernyshenko, head of the Sochi 2014 organizing committee, says the upcoming Olympiad will be “more effective” than any of its predecessors, that construction is going well, preparations for trial competitions scheduled, and  tickets selling quickly with most of them costing less than 230 US dollars a seat (sochi2014.rsport.ru/sochi2014_analytics/20130704/671566862.html).
One North Caucasian Leader Out but Others Expected to Remain Until After Sochi. Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, head of Ingushetia, has resigned, although President Vladiimir Putin has asked him to remain until his replacement can be selected. But other North Caucasus republic heads are expected to remain in place until after Sochi lest their departures further destabilize the situation (nakanune.ru/news/2013/7/4/22314982/,
Young Beggars Appear in Sochi.  Despite or perhaps because of all the money that is flowing into the Olympic city, youthful  beggars have begun to appear on Sochi streets, prompting local residents to ask why these children are not under superivision and what the city’s administration is going to do about them (blogsochi.ru/content/malchik-poproshaika-na-ulitsakh-olimpiiskogo-sochi).
Corruption Scandal in North Caucasus Resorts Spreads.  Police have raided the offices of the North Caucasus Resorts organization in Moscow and St. Petersburg looking for additional evidence of financial malfeasance by the leaders of that organation (interfax.ru/russia/news.asp?id=316552).
Russian Officials Say Generators Ready But Power Outrages Still a Daily Occurrence in Sochi. The government agency responsible for installing new power facilities in Sochi says that all work on them is complete, but as Blogsochi.ru chronicles every day, residents still face numerous power outrages throughout the week (interfax-russia.ru/South/news.asp?id=414417&sec=1679).
Russian Officials Say Sochi Cheaper than Vancouver and Being Built Faster than BAM.  “Novaya gazeta” asked Russian officials to evaluate Boris Nemtsov’s book on the Sochi Olympics. The officials said that “in fact” Sochi was being built “seven times faster than BAM” and would come in “1.5 times cheaper than Vancouver,” claims that most observers have dismissed out of hand as wildly inaccurate (novayagazeta.ru/economy/58835.html).
Olympic Construction Now Proceeding at ‘Forced Tempo.’ In order to complete all the Olympic venues, roads and support facilties, officials have directed that companies use “forced tempos” to overcome past delays (blogsochi.ru/content/itogi-stroitelstva-transportnykh-olimpiiskikh-obektov-rosavtodora-za-i-polugodie-2013-goda).
Sochi Organizers to House Visitors in Cruise Ships Because Hotels Aren’t Ready. The Sochi Olympic committee says it will house some 50,000 Olympic visitors in cruise ships because of “behind-schedule construction of sports venues, highways, hotels, and airport.” Olympic visitors in Athens and Vancouver also used ships as hotels (examiner.com/article/sochi-olympics-behind-schedule-must-resort-to-cruise-ships-for-housing).
Fears that Voronezh Nikel Protests Could Disrupt Sochi Games.  A Moscow commentator has suggested that protests against exploration for nickel in Voronezh oblast could disrupt the Olympiad because that roads crossing that region connect Moscow with the North Caucasus (evrazia.org/article/2317).
Islamists Reportedly Planning to Disrupt Universiade.  The Regnum.ru news agency reports that Islamist groups in Tatarstan have called on their followers to engage in a jihad against the Kazan Universiade (www.regnum.ru/news/polit/1678373.html).
24,000 Police and Internal Troops Guarding Kazan Competition.  According to Tatarstan officials, security at the Universiad will be providedby nearly 24,000 police and internal troops, who will ensure order and keep any demonstrators 500 meters from the sites of competitions (kazan2013.rsport.ru/kazan2013_news/20130701/671248910.html).
Broad Official Crackdown on Tatarstan Muslims in Advance of Kazan Universiade.“The number of violations of Kazan residents is growing like a snowball every day as the Universiade approaches,” according to local Muslims, with police routinely stopping people and entering their houses if they appear to be Muslim (golosislama.ru/news.php?id=17930).
Chuvash Activists Blocked from Attending Kazan Universiade. In what may be an indication of how Russian officials will behave at the Sochi Games, law enforcement agencies have prevented Chuvash activists from attending the competitions in the capital of Tatarstan (sobkorr.ru/news/51D2DA4BDD046.html).
Russian Athletes to Be Taught English so They Can Give Interviews.  The Moscow Times reports that the Kremlin has decided that Russian competitors at Sochi need to learn English so that they can “travel to training cmps, communicate with colleagues and give interviews” as partofan effort to “boost” Russia’s image (themoscowtimes.com/news/article/english-first-to-teach-russian-olympians/482595.html ).
Case Brought Against Sochi Man for Anti-Central Asian Videos and Attacks.  A man who produced a video clip denouncing Central Asian gastarbeiters in Sochi and then attacked two of those workers in the street has been charged with violating Russian laws against exacerbating ethnic hatred (sova-center.ru/racism-xenophobia/news/counteraction/2013/07/d27439/).
Olympic Construction Destroying Environmentally Fragile Area. Despite protests and demonstrations, companies building Olympic facilities in the Imeretinskaya low land, an area rich in rare flora and fauna, are destroying rather than protecting that wildlife.  Some of the companies have won court injunctions against the environmentalists and so have been able to continue without worrying about the ecological impact of their work. Meanwhile, Sochi residents continue their protests against the destruction of green spaces in their city (sochiwatchdotorg.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/imeretinskaya-lowland-is-another-environmental-crime-in-preparation-to-sochi-2014/,rosbalt.ru/video/2013/06/28/1146619.html.
Residents in Sochi Lowlands No Longer Have Fresh Water to Drink.  Construction has left residents of the Imeretskaya district without any fresh water, forcing some of them to use highly saline sea water for their needs, something that is killing plants and making people there sick (www.sochinskie-novosti.com/%D1%81%D0%BE%D0%BB%D1%8C-%D0%BE%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%BC%D0%BF%D0%B8%D0%B0%D0%B4%D1%8B/ ).
Nemtsov Calls Attention to Police Beatings in Sochi.  Boris Nemtsov visited one of the victims of a brutal police beating while Russian opposition figure was in Sochi and has since discussed the case on his blog. According to Nemtsov, city officials “knew” what was going on but “remain silent” lest they get in the way of companies involved in Olympic construction (blogsochi.ru/content/boris-nemtsov-sadisty-politsai-poshli-v-ataku).
Olympic Constractors Say Those Demanding Back Pay were Dismissed for Poor Work.  Sochiprofstroy officials say that a group of workers who have been protesting the company’s failure to pay them for their work were in fact dismissed for doing their jobs badly (kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/226440/).
Gastarbeiters in Sochi Subject to Close Checking.  A government commission is subjecting Central Asian and North Caucasian gastarbeiters to new checks following complaints about their behavior in the Olympic city (www.sochinskie-novosti.com/2013/07/01/%D0%B2-%D1%81%D0%BE%D1%87%D0%B8-%D0%BD%D0%B0%D1%87%D0%B8%D0%BD%D0%B0%D1%8E%D1%82-%D0%BE%D1%85%D0%BE%D1%82%D1%8B-%D0%BD%D0%B0-%D0%BD%D0%B5%D0%BB%D0%B5%D0%B3%D0%B0%D0%BB%D0%BE%D0%B2/ ).
Sochi Organizers Promise Enough Snow Even If It Has to Come Out of Freezers. Aleksandr Zhukov, president of Russia’s Olympic Committee, says “there will be no problems with snow” and that “the Olympics in Sochi will go ahead in any weather.” The reason for his confidence? Moscow is spending eight million US dollars to store in refrigerators 450,000 cubic meters of snow from this year. His comments came after Moscow had to cancel the Nordic combined event this year because temperatures in Sochi were too high for snow to stay on the ground (en.ria.ru/sports/20130629/181951933/No-Snow-Deficit-for-Sochi-in-2014—Olympic-Chief.html ).
Small Storm Overwhelms Olympic Containment Wall.  A small southern storm overwhelmed coastal defense measues put in place by Olympic contractors, an indication of just how little protection the city has from more serious storms that are more common there in winter months (sochi-24.ru/nedvizhimost/olimpijskaya-beregozashita-snova-poplyla-v-more.2013627.64865.html).
Olympic Construction Makes Sochi Anything But an Attractive Tourist Destination This Year. Residents say that construction for the Sochi games, often going at breakneck speed, has left their city ugly and dangerous for any visitors at least this season (blogsochi.ru/content/adskaya-progulka-po-tsentru-sochi).
First Case of Meningitis Registered in Sochi. The meningitis epidemic in the Russian Federation has now reached Sochi, medical officials there say (blogsochi.ru/content/meningit-zakhvatyvaet-novye-regiony-v-adlerskom-raione-kurorta-sochi-zafiksirovan-pervyi-slu ).
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