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Monthly Archives: June 2013
THE HISTORY OF SOCHI: ALEXEI ERMOLOV, THE DECEMBRISTS, AND GENOCIDE
Moscow Uses Diplomatic Muscle to Prevent UNESCO from Discussing Sochi Problems.
Moscow Uses Diplomatic Muscle to Prevent UNESCO from Discussing Sochi Problems.
The Russian government has succeeded in preventing UNESCO from putting a discussion of environmental problems in and around Sochi on its agenda, using as its ally for this purpose the government of South Africa with which President Vladimir Putin has had intense discussions about the issue, according to mediareports:
WINDOW ON EURASIA: SOCHI COUNTDOWN — 32 WEEKS TO THE OLYMPIAD IN THE NORTH CAUCASUS
Note: This is my 18th 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 knowledge or information about this subject to send me references to the materials involved. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org Allow me to express my thanks to all those who already have. Paul Goble
Ever More Russians Question Sochi Olympiad Spending … A poll by the independent Levada Center found that 65 percent of Russians say Moscow’s spending in Sochi has been ineffective or was “simply being stolen. Only two percent said the money was being used very effectively (.themoscowtimes.com/olympic_coverage/article/poll-reveals-skepticism-over-olympic-spending/482423.html and en.ria.ru/society/20130627/181907980/Most-Russians-Critical-of-Sochi-Olympic-Spending–Poll.html).
… And Ever Fewer of Them Say Sochi is a Source of Pride. Despite the Kremlin’s efforts to promote the Sochi Games as a source of pride, the share of Russians who say that they are proud about them about about the World Football Championship to be held in Russia has fallen from 68 percent last year to 61 percent this, according to the same Levada Center poll. Twenty-nine percent said these events did not give them any sense of pride (gazeta.ru/politics/2013/06/26_a_5394569.shtml).
Most Russian Still Afraid to Travel to North Caucasus, Moscow News Agency Says. Despite Moscow’s efforts to “rebrand” the Caucasus as a tourist destination, a Russian news agency says that “as in the past, the majority of Russians are concerned about travel to the Caucasus for skying or snowboardingbecause they, not without reason, suppose that ‘there people are shooting.’” Aleksandr Khloponin, the presidential plenipotentiary for the region, says that they should not be afraid but should come to enjoy the resorts officials and businessmen are building there (top.rbc.ru/economics/25/06/2013/863216.shtml and vestikavkaza.ru/news/KHloponin-pervyy-kurort-turisticheskogo-klastera-Severnogo-Kavkaza-otkroetsya-v-etom-godu.html).
Nemtsov Urges Sochi Residents to ‘Fight Fascism.’ Despite efforts by regional officials to prevent him from doing so, Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov appeared in Sochi to discuss his book on “The Winter Olympics in a Subtropical Zone” and to urge residents to stand up for their rights against what he described as “fascism” on the part of the authorities (sochinskie-novosti.com/%D0%BD%D0%B5%D0%BC%D1%86%D0%BE%D0%B2-%D0%BF%D1%80%D0%B8%D0%B7%D0%B2%D0%B0%D0%BB-%D1%81%D0%BE%D1%87%D0%B8%D0%BD%D1%86%D0%B5%D0%B2-%D0%B1%D0%BE%D1%80%D0%BE%D1%82%D1%8C%D1%81%D1%8F-%D1%81-%D1%84%D0%B0%D1%88%D0%B8%D0%B7%D0%BC%D0%BE%D0%BC/,https://blogsochi.ru/content/boris-nemtsov-v-sochi-prezentoval-razoblachitelnyi-doklad-ob-olimpiade and www.facebook.com/boris.nemtsov/posts/489426061126999).
Kremlin Working Hard to ‘Neutralize’ Circassian Issue, Israeli Analyst Says.Avraham Shmulyevich says that at present, “One of the main concerns of the Kremlin regarding the Olympiad is the neutralization of ‘the Circassian Theme.’” He said that Russian officials are working to disrupt Circassian efforts to bring the concerns of that community before the world and to distract the attention of the world from any efforts that Moscow cannot prevent (avrom-caucasus.livejournal.com/270304.html).
US Olympic Committee Offers Special High-Priced Packages for Sochi. To raise money for the American athletes, the US Olympic Committee is selling special packages for fans who want to attend the games in Sochi. The prices for such tours start at 10,000 US dollars and rise to more than 500,000 US dollars for the two-week competition (luxurytravelmagazine.com/news-articles/exclusive-packages-to-attend-the-winter-olympic-games-in-sochi-russia-19650.php).
Special Sochi Passes Will Become Good Souvenirs, Chernyshenko Says … Dmitry Chernyshenko, the head of the Sochi 2014 organizing committee says that his group is going ahead with plans to require special spectator passes that will require fans to provide information “similar to what is requested when buying airplane tickets.” According to Chernyshenko, “the spectator pass will help to ensure the secure, hospitable and friendly atmosphere of the Games in Sochi” and aftere the games “will be a memorable sourvenir” (sportsbusinessdaily.com/Global/Issues/2013/06/26/Olympics/Sochi-Tickets.aspx).
… Adding that “Sochi is the starting point for the whole world to believe in Russia.”Not only that, Chernyshenko says, the games will help Russians to “gain confidence that Russia is ready to implement large-scale projects,” (https://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/sports-events-seen-as-catalyst-for-new-russia/482088.html).
Olympic Builders Continue to Despoil Environment, Activists Say. The Ecological Watch on the North Caucasus says that the rush to complete Olympic venues and support facilities is causing builders to ignore environmental protection rules and contributing to the destruction of sensitive regions and the contamination of air, water and land. Meanwhile, the activists are seeking to save rare plans by relocating them out of the way of Olympic construction. Local residents confirm what the activists are saying (sochinskie-novosti.com/%D0%BE%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%BC%D0%BF%D0%B8%D0%B9%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B8%D0%B9-%D0%BE%D1%82%D0%B2%D0%B0%D0%BB-%D0%BA%D0%BE%D1%82%D0%BE%D1%80%D0%BE%D0%B3%D0%BE-%D0%BD%D0%B5%D1%82/ , blogsochi.ru/content/uchenye-peresadili-krasnoknizhnye-rasteniya-v-imeretinskoi-nizmennosti and sochinskie-novosti.com/%D1%81%D0%BF%D0%B0%D1%81%D1%82%D0%B8-%D1%88%D0%B0%D1%85%D0%B5-%D0%BF%D1%80%D0%BE%D1%82%D0%B8%D0%B2%D0%BE%D1%81%D1%82%D0%BE%D1%8F%D0%BD%D0%B8%D0%B5/).
Russian Finance Minister Says Moscow is Spending ‘Relatively Little’ on Sochi Games. Because most of the funds Moscow is spending in Sochi are for infrastructure that will be used long into the future, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov says, the Russian government is actually spending “relatively little” on the games themselves and that mostly for the opening and closing ceremonies (sochinskie-novosti.com/2013/06/25/%D1%81%D0%B8%D0%BB%D1%83%D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%BE%D0%B2-%D0%BD%D0%B0-%D0%BE%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%BC%D0%BF%D0%B8%D0%B0%D0%B4%D1%83-%D0%B2-%D0%B1%D1%8E%D0%B4%D0%B6%D0%B5%D1%82%D0%B5-2014-%D0%B3%D0%BE%D0%B4%D0%B0-%D0%B7%D0%B0%D0%BB%D0%BE%D0%B6%D0%B5%D0%BD%D1%8B-%D0%BD%D0%B5%D0%B1%D0%BE%D0%BB%D1%8C%D1%88%D0%B8%D0%B5-%D0%B4%D0%B5%D0%BD%D1%8C%D0%B3%D0%B8/ Силуанов: На Олимпиаду в бюджете 2014 года заложены небольшие деньги).
Russian Interior Ministry Says Its Officers are Investigating Reports of Torture in Sochi. In response to a rising tide of media reports suggesting that police in Sochi had tortured Martiros Demerchyan, a Sochi resident, the Russian MVD has announced thatit is looking into the case (23.mvd.ru/news/item/1059491/ and sochi-24.ru/proishestviya/sochinskie-policejskie-pytali-cheloveka-lomom-v-zadnijprohod.2013619.64557.html).
Russians Will Win Gold Only after Restoration of National Sports System, Experts Say. At a Sochi conference on Sports and Medicine, the expert participants said that the Russian Federation could expect to excel in the Olympics only if it restored the kind of national sports system the country had in Soviet times, improving both opportunities for participation at all levels throughout the country and facilities for medical treatment of athletes (24rus.ru/more.php?UID=98780).
UEFA Says North Caucasus Too Dangerous for Its Competitions. The Working Group of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) says that the situation in the North Caucasus is still too unsettled for it to sanction competitions of its member teams there during the 2013-2014 period (www.apsny.ge/2013/soc/1372229604.php).
Israel’s Circassians Oppose Sochi Competition. The small Circassian community of Israel is speaking out against the Sochi Olympiad and participation in it, according to the Jerusalem Post. The paper noted that “the Circassians consider themselves to be victims of an historic genocide and ethnic cleansing campaign, much like the Armenian remnant also living in the country” (jpost.com/Christian-In-Israel/Politics/Circassian-pride-and-pain-317767).
Duma Deputy Says Efforts to Block Sochi Olympiad Doomed to Failure. Gadzimet Safaraliyev, chairman of the Russian parliament’s nationalities committee, says that attempts to block the Olympic Games in Sochi are “counter-productive” because they will “in any case take place.” As far as the Circassians are concerned, organizers of the competition will give them the chance to put their “national-cultural characteristics” on display for the world to see. Moreover, Russia will show the international community that Circassians at one time lived on the site of the Winter Olympiad,” that they have been able to “preserve andincrease their historical, national and culturala rootes shoulder to should with the representatives of the other nationalities of our Motherland – multi-national Russia” (cir.rus4all.ru/exclusive/20130626/724197061.html).
Moscow Wants to Wrap up Bolotnaya Case Before Sochi Olympics, Lawyers Say. Sochi is affecting the scheduling of many things in Russia, and now there is evidence that it is affecting some high-profile legal cases. According to lawyers for the defendents in a case about protests against Vladimir Putin and his regime, the judges want to wrap up the process before the Sochi Games begin, presumably in order to avoid adverse publicity (kommersant.ru/doc/2220403).
Sochi Tour Guide Says Olympic Construction Has Left Him ‘Ashamed.’ A long-time tour guide in Sochi says the destruction of so much of his city has left him “ashamed.” The only thing he can still point to with pride, he says, is the views people have if they look beyond the buildings. Those haven’t been destroyed yet. Other guides are talking about dangerous sidewalks, potholed streets, and burning buses (blogsochi.ru/content/kofe-po-sochinski and aheku.org/page-id-3587.html).
Moscow Uses Diplomatic Muscle to Prevent UNESCO from Discussing Sochi Problems. The Russian government has succeeded in preventing UNESCO from putting a discussion of environmental problems in and around Sochi on its agenda, using as its ally for this purpose the government of South Africa with which President Vladimir Putin has had intense discussions about the issue, according to media reports (https://www.natpress.ru/index.php?newsid=8315).
Lavrov Says Russian Citizens Now Fighting in Syria ‘Pose No Risk’ to Sochi. Russian and international security agencies are making sure that “Russians fighting alongside rebels in Syria don’t pose a threat to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi,” Russian Foreign Minsiter Sergey Lavrov says. Bu he noted that “when this war is over. .. these guys wouldn’t be busy and they might look for some engagement” in their homeland (abcnews.go.com/International/t/story/russian-fm-rebels-pose-risk-sochi-19457128 ).
Conditions in Sochi Beyond Olympic Buildings are Like Haiti, Latynina Says. Yuliya Latynina, a Moscow commentator, says that Moscow is very good at putting up facades where it wants to make an impression on outsiders, but Russians like herself know that just beyond those pretty displays are conditions that are like those in third world countries like Haiti (ehorussia.ru/new/node/7762).
Despite Promises, Moscow has Not Made Olympics Accessible for Those with Disabilities. A wheelchair-bound resident in Sochi says that the Olympic sites and support facilities are not accessible for people like himself, despite Russian undertakings with the IOC that they would be. He provides photographs to back up his statement (blogsochi.ru/content/invalid-kolyasochnik-o-sanatorii-%C2%ABizvestiya%C2%BB).
Russian Tour Firm Offers Sochi Double Rooms from 150 to 270 USD a Night. Saying that it was offering rooms for prices set by a Russian government decree, a Moscow tour firm says Russians can rent double rooms for 150 to 270 US dollars a night during the competition. But local people say that many tour firms and the hotels themselves already appear to be ignoring these limits (blogsochi.ru/content/otkryvaem-prodazhu-mest-v-otelyakh-na-daty-olimpiady).
‘Anyone Who Tries to Build in Sochi Within the Law Encounters Official Opposition,” Architect Says. Ovanes Zadikyan, a member of the Russian Architects Union and chairman of the Architects of the Black Sea Region partnership, says that officials in Sochi put up obstacles to anyone who tries to work within the law in order to put themselves in a position to profit when those who violate the law seek, as most do, subsequently to cover themselves with legality (.u-f.ru/Article/u201/2013/06/22/656845).
Russian Appeals Court Leaves Corruption Conviction in Place. The conviction of Oleg Sheveyko, former architecture chief in Sochi. for corruption has been left in place by the Krasnodar appeals court, and Sochi residents say that they hope he will soon start serving his prison sentence that this decision will become “the first step to restoring order in the horde of bureaucrats headed by Mayor A.N. Pakhomov” (blogsochi.ru/content/oleg-sheveiko-osuzhden).
Sochi Residents Demonstrate Against Plans to Destroy Yet Another City Park. Sochi residents, angry that yet another one of their parks is about to be destroyed in the name of Olympic construction have organnied a picketand attracted the support of some but far from all local politicians (blogsochi.ru/content/lyudmila-shestak-o-planakh-stroitelstva-byuveta-v-zone-obshchego-polzovaniya).
Navratilova Says a Sochi Boycott Would Not Affect Russia’s Anti-Gay Legislation. Tennis star Martina Navratilova says that any boycott of the Sochi Olympics would have little chance of success in forcing Moscow to change its anti-gay legislation that she and others deplore (2014.info/news/navratilova-osuzhdaet-putina-no-ne-podderzhivaet-bojkot-olimpiady-2014/).
IOC Chief Praises Sochi Effort. Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, says that “hosting the 2014 Olympic Games has enabled Russia to create its first ever elite winter sports hub and is turning Sochi into a world-class, year-round business, tourist and athletic destination” and that “for the first time in Russia, a system of ‘green standards’ will be used during the construction of Olympic venues. Sochi will set an example of sustainable development for other cities in Russia to follow” (rbth.ru/news/2013/06/21/international_olympic_committee_sochi_is_a_world_center_of_winter_sports_27341.html).
Russian Prosecutors Acuse Perm Museum of Violating Trademark Laws in Poster Case. Having secured the dismissal of a Perm museum director for organizing an exhibit of anti-Sochi Games posters, Russian officials are now saying that they will bring charges against him and others for violation of trademark law for using the Olympic symbols without permission (vesti.ru/doc.html?id=1097148, kasparov.ru/material.php?id=51C42C3B81538grani.ru/Politics/Russia/Regions/m.215948.html and www.rus-obr.ru/ru-web/25024).
Reporters Without Borders Raises More Questions about Yarst Case. The international media watchdog organization says that it is concerned by “all the inconsistencies and procedural violations” that have characterized Russian prosecution of Nikolai Yarst, who remains under house arrest in Sochi charged with illegal possession of drugs. “ The group asks “Why have there been contradictory versions of Yarst’s arrest? Has it been confirmed that his fingerprints were not on the envelope containing the drugs? Why did the police take a week to realize his clothes had traces of drugs and can that be considered evidence if those traces have now disappeared? And if he really was a drug addict, why would he have drugs in his car while on his way to a meeting with the police?” Meanwhile, Sochi police continue to harass him (en.rsf.org/russia-dubious-investigation-into-sochi-21-06-2013,44833.html and blogsochi.ru/content/sotrudnik-dps-sochi-provotsiruet-narushenie-pdd).
Olympic Construction Already ‘Na Remonte.’ Even before it can be finished, some Olympic construction sites are “under repair,” an indication that it was not built very well in the first place (blogsochi.ru/content/%C2%ABna-eti-tseli-bylo-potracheno-12-mln-800-tysyach-rublei%C2%BB ).
BlogSochi Now has 10,000 Subscribers. Blogsochi.ru, which tracks developments in that city, now has 10,000 subscribers and is seeking more (blogsochi.ru/content/v-gruppe-blogsochi-uzhe-10-000-podpischikov).
Depardieu Plans to Make Sochi Comedy Film. NBC News reports that the French actor who recently acquired Russian citizenship to avoid paying French taxes will star in a film about the Sochi Olympics that is tentatively titled “Sports without Borders.” This low-budget effort, NBCsaid, “doesn’t quite remind us of famous Olympic film classics like The Cutting Edge,Miracle, or Cool Runnings [but] it’s probably going to be better than Blades of Glory,Pentathlon, and both Prefontaine biopics” (olympictalk.nbcsports.com/2013/06/21/sochi-olympics-comedy-already-in-the-works/).
Georgia May Seek to Host a Winter Olympics in 2022. Georgy Topadze, a Georgian parliamentarian, says that Tbilisi may make a bid to host the 2022 Winter Games, a step that Russia’s sports news agency said was “a case of keeping up with the neighbors” (en.rsort.ru/olympics/20130621/669385118).
WINDOW ON EURASIA: SOCHI COUNTDOWN — 33 WEEKS TO THE OLYMPIAD IN THE NORTH CAUCASUS
Note: This is my 17th 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 knowledge or information about this subject to send me references to the materials involved. My email address is email@example.com Allow me to express my thanks to all those who already have. Paul Goble
London Paper Calls Sochi Olympiad ‘Putin’s Calamity Games.’ The Daily Mail says that “collapsing buildings, colossal corruption, [and] contract killings” are only the most obvious aspects of what is shaping up to be a disaster. The 740-word illustrated article, published as Russian President Vladimir Putin came to London to meet British Prime Minister David Cameron has been widely reprinted or summarized by Russian media outlets (www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2342153/Putins-30bn-calamity-games-Collapsing-buildings-Colossal-corruption-Contract-killings-The-race-complete-Russias-Winter-Olympic-village-mired-scandal.html?ito=feeds-newsxml, vestnikkavkaza.net/world-press-review/sport/41639.html and www.nr2.ru/moskow/444659).
US Sports Columnist Says Sochi has Become ‘Putin’s Mafia Olympics.’ Writing on a blog for The Nation, Dave Zirin says that preparations for the Sochi Games show that Russian Prsident Putin “not unlike the decaying Mafia itself – isn’t nearly as ruthlessly efficient as his legend suggests.” Despite staking his reputation on a successful games, “he’s being exposed as little more than a thuggish front man for a kleptocracythenation.com/blog/174821/ring-and-rings-vladamir-putins-mafia-olympics#axzz2WSlREJL8).
Russian LGBT Group in New York Calls for Sochi Boycott … Nina Long, co-president of an émigré Russsian gay group in New York, says that “LGBT people in Russia are sacred, they live in fer, and we want people to be aware of the issue. If they feel strongly about human righs, they should boycott the Olympicsin Sochi.” Her comments come after the group issued a boycott appeal (passportmagazine.com/blog/archives/29426-athletes-may-boycott-sochi-2014-olympics-over-russias-anti-gay-stance.html and en.ria.ru/world/20130618/181721132/Russian-Gays-in-US-Call-for-Boycott-of-Sochi-Games.html). See also the letter of HRW’s LGBT Rights Program on the issues the games raise at hrw.org/node/116598.
… But IOC Says LGBT Competitors Will Be Welcome at Sochi. Despite increasing homophobia in the Russian Federation, he International Olympic Committee says that it is still ready to host gay competitors at the Sochi Games. But gay activists are not sure. As one put it, “while the rest of the West is going forward on gay issues, Russia is heading in the opposite direction. With the Games less than a year away, there’s no way the IOC will want to rock the boat too much. Going forward, however, the IOC must consider a bidding country’s record on LGBT issues before awarding an Olympics. No country with Russia’s laws should ever get the privilege of hosting again” (outsports.com/2013/6/16/4436808/ioc-gay-winter-olympics-welcome-despite-russia-homophobia).
US, Russian Security Cooperation Highlights Threat at Sochi. An agreement between US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin to “join forces” to provide security at the Sochi Games has the unintended effect of calling attention to just how many security risks there are likely to be at a competition held on the edge of the troubled North Caucasus (insidethegames.biz/olympics/winter-olympics/2014/1014703-russia-and-us-join-forces-for-sochi-2014-security and policymic.com/articles/49079/sochi-2014-can-putin-s-crackdown-keep-the-winter-olympics-safe).
Weak Transportation Network Makes Security at Sochi a Real Problem. Although Moscow plans a massive network of security arrangements during the Sochi Olympiad, it may not be able to react quickly to any terrorist challenges because the streets there will not allow its forces pursue anyone seeking to disrupt the games or come to the assistance of those who might suffer from a terrorist attack (.news.com.au/sport/more-sport/olympics-facing-boston-style-attacks-unprecedented-security-at-sochi-2014-winter-olympics/story-fndukor0-1226663740932).
Karachay-Cherkess Lawmakers Want to Make Denial of Circassian Genocide a Crime. Members of the Popular Assembly of the Karachay-Cherkess Republic have passed a resolution calling on the Russian Duma to pass legislation imposing criminal penalties on anyone who denies that tsarist officials committed a genocide against the Circassians in 1864. The Russian legislators are unlikely to take up the matter, but this is one more way in which the Circassian cause is attracting more attention precisely because of the decision to hold the Olympics in Sochi (news.ya09.ru/news/718141). Two new articles provide details on precisely what happened to the Circassians 150 years ago at Sochi (krasnaya-polyana-genocide1864.com/2013/06/krasnaya-polyana-breaking-the-150-years-of-silence-part-two/#more-155).
Kozak Acknowledges Some Olympic Construction Far Behind Schedule. While insisting that Sochi will be ready for the games, Dmitry Kozak, Russia’s vice premier who is overseeing preparations, says that some hotels are far from ready and that he will seek to punish contractors building them unless they bring their projects back on schedule. He also said that a power plant slated to be built in Kudeptsa that local residents had opposed would in fact not be built (vedomosti.ru/politics/news/13141081/kozak_raskritikoval_podryadchikov_sryvayuschih_sroki and blogsochi.ru/content/dmitrii-kozak-kudeptinskaya-tes-v-sochi-stroitsya-ne-budet ).
Al Jazeera Program Focuses on Circassian Objections to Holding Olympics in Sochi. Al Jazeera World television broadcasts a 44-minute film on why Circassians oppose holding the Olympicson the site where their ancestors were expelled or even killed by Russian forces 150 years ago. To view the program, see www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9JJAlVQG9c.
Oligarch Wants Moscow to Ensure He Makes a Profit in Sochi. Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch who says his firm has spent 1.4 billion US dollars for Olympic contruction is calling on the Russian government to ensure he makes a profit. “Such a large-scale project as the Olympics should serve as an example for the development of private-public investment projects,” he says (en.rsport.ru/olympics/20130619/669035320.html andrsport.ru/interview/20130619/668902834.html).
VEB Bank Head Said Moscow Unlikely to Recoup Sochi Loans. Vladimir Dmitriyev, chairman of the VEB Bank, said that eight of the 19 projects the bank is currently funding are unlikely to show a profit and that as a result the bank is unlikely to recover the loans it has made (washingtonpost.com/sports/olympics/russias-veb-bank-warns-of-billions-in-losses-from-financing-olympics-construction-in-sochi/2013/06/18/29d902a4-d849-11e2-b418-9dfa095e125d_story.html and realty.newsru.com/article/14jun2013/white_eleph).
Another Russian Olympic Contractor Charged with Fraud. Sistema, a Russian firm involved in the construction of Olympic sites in Sochi has been charged with conspiracy and fraud for diverting funds intended for those projects into the pockets of the company’s senior officers(.nr2.ru/technology/445005.html).
Russian Officials Refuse to Open Case Against Sochi Police Who Tortured a Worker… Prosecutors in Sochi have refued to open a case against Sochi police for torturing a contract worker on an Olympic project after he demanded that the company pay him and his fellow workers their back wages (kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/225825/, blogsochi.ru/content/v-sochi-politseiskie-izbili-stroitelei sochi-24.ru/proishestviya/sochinskie-policejskie-pytali-cheloveka-lomom-v-zadnij-prohod.2013619.64557.html andwww.echo.msk.ru/blog/rodinol/1098910-echo/).
… But Grozny Presses for Charges Against Those Mistreating Chechen Workers in Sochi. Chechnya’s ombudsman is pressing for the opening of criminal charges against companies and officials who have failed to pay or otherwise mistreated Chechens working on Olympic construction sites, demands that put Moscow, the chief patron of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov in a potentially difficult situation (www.chechenombudsman.ru/index.php).
Foreign Visitors Shocked by Shortcomings in Olympic Construction. As the Games approach, Russian officials are organizing visits to Sochi for foreign journalists and others, but instead of being impressed, many of them say and write that they were horrified by what they have seen (blogsochi.ru/content/chto-dumayut-inostrantsy-o-podgotovke-k-olimpiade-i-kak-otnosyatsya-k-rossii).
Russian TV Follows Official Script on Sochi Projects. Sochi residents say that they might be more impressed by the claims of Russian television reporters about their city it if were not the case that the reporters are speaking from texts that appear to be lightly re-written official declarations rather than what anyone can see with the unaided eye (blogsochi.ru/content/sochinskoe-tv-naidite-10-otlichii).
Perm Museum Director Fired over Anti-Sochi Posters. Russian officials dismissed Marat Guelman as director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Perm after he staged an exhibit featuring posters satirizing the Sochi Games, including one showing a picture of Stalin wearing an Olympic mascot costume and another portraying the Olympic rings as hangman’s nooses (https://en.ria.ru/russia/20130620/181773278/Russian-Art-Curator-Fired-Over-Satirical-Olympics-Exhibits.html).
Expert Says Projects to Protect Sochi Coastline Dangerous and Illegal. Professor Vyacheslav Maltsev, a specialist on programs to protect coastal areas, says that the plans Olympic officials have come up with to protect the Imeretia lowlands are a threat to that area and violate Russian law on environmental protection (kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/225824/).
Circassians Finally Get Pre-Olympic Exhibit in Adygeya – About Events 5000 Years Ago. Circassian activists have long sought an exhibit that would speak honestly about what happened to them when Russian forces occupied their homeland and expelled their ancestors in the 19th century. The National Museum of Adygeya, citing the upcoming Olympics, has responded with an ethnographic exhibition of ites dating more than 5,000 years ago (natpress.net/index.php?newsid=10478).
Kuban Governor Nixes New Road to Sochi, Woould Cost 30 Billion US Dollars. Saying that a new road from Dzhubga toSochi would cost at least 30 billion US dollars, Kuban governor Aleksandr Tkachev said that there isn’t time to complete it before the Olympics. Indeed, he said, it might take “decades” to build all the tunnels and bridges such a highway would require. But without such a highway, those driving to Sochi will face many problems on the existing and low quality secondary roads(news.mail.ru/inregions/south/23/economics/13565497/?frommail=1).
Drug Trafficking an Ever More Serious Problem in Sochi. Officials have convened a conference of experts to map out a response to drug trafficking in the Olympic city, a problem that some say has reached epidemic proportions with dealers openly selling various drugs on the streets of Sochi (blogsochi.ru/content/vyezdnoe-zasedanie-kraevoi-antinarkoticheskoi-komissii-proidet-v-sochi).
Central Street in Olympic Venue Sea of Mud When It Rains and Dust When It Doesn’t. A video shows that as a result of construction, the main street in Krasnaya Polyana is little more than a sea of mud whenever strong rains hit the area and a dusty path when they don’t (blogsochi.ru/content/tsentralnaya-ulitsa-krasnoi-polyany). Meanwhile, Sochi residents say that the sidewalks in their city are not safe for anyone to use (https://blogsochi.ru/content/ostorozhnei-peshekhod).
Adler Hoteliers Plan to Charge 1,000 US Dollars a Night for Rooms During Olympics. A survey of hotel operators in Adler found that local businessmen plan to charge 500 to 1,000 US dollars a night for second-tier hotels during the Olympics, far more than luxury hotels cost at present and yet another indication that visitors to the games will face serious price gouging (blogsochi.ru/content/kak-podnyat-uznavaemost-brenda-raskryvaem-sekrety-adlerskikh-biznesmenov).
Adler-Krasnaya Polyana Road May Be Even More Expensive than Reported Earlier. Reports that Russian officials had spent three times as much on the 48 kilometer road from Adler to Krasnaya Polyana as the US did to send an exploring device to Mars may understate the amount involved, according to a report prepared by the Russian Peoples Freedom Party. If its figures are correct, Moscow has spent almost four times as much (blogsochi.ru/content/doklad-o-stroitelstve-dorogi-%C2%ABadler-%E2%80%93-krasnaya-polyana%C2%BB);
Orders to Pull Down Illegal Construction in Sochi Being Ignored. City officials have called for pulling down 356 buildings, including garages, that were put up without permits or inspections, but so far, observers say, only 42 have been demolished, leaving unclear just when or if the others may in fact be removed before the Olympiad (blogsochi.ru/content/kak-uskorit-protsess-snosa-samovolok-obsuzhdali-segodnya-v-sochi). At least some of the buildings not yet demolished are large and dangerous to their residents and passers by (blogsochi.ru/content/bytkhinskii-stroitelnyi-bespredel-2 and blogsochi.ru/content/sochi-navodnen-opasnymi-domami).
Sochi Organizers Sue Sportloto. Sochi 2014 organizers have brought suit against Russia’s Sportsloto for using the Olympic symbols without permission. They seek 20 million rubles 600,000 US dollars (https://vz.ru/news/2013/6/18/637715.html).
World Wild Life Fund says Sochi River One of Ten Russian Sites at Greatest Risk. Experts of the WWF liste the Mzymta River near Sochi as one of the ten Russian nature sites now at greatest risk from pollution, in its case from oil spills and phenol (newsbabr.com/?IDE=115914).
Sochi May Not Have Enough Electric Power. Russian officials have not taken enough steps to ensure that the the power shortages, brown outs and black outs that have plagued the Sochi area over recent months will not get worse and affect the games themselves, according to one journalist (news-ru.blogspot.com/2013/06/2014.html).
Court Refuses to End Journalist’s House Arrest in Sochi. The Krasnodar kray court has refused to end the house arrest of Nikolay Yarst, a journalist who officials say was in possession of illegal drugs but who his defenders insist is being persecuted for his honest discussion of problems at Olympic construction projects (kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/225723/).
Saakashvili Doesn’t Want Georgian Flag at Sochi. Even though the Georgian Olympic Committee has now voted to take part in the Sochi Olympiad, President Mikhail Saakashvili says that he is “categoricalliy against” that step and insists that the flag of the Republic of Georgia not appear at that competition (kavpolit.com/saakashvili-xochet-ostavit-olimpijcev-gruzii-bez-flaga/).
Activist Who Reported Environmental Depradation in North Caucasus Gets Asylum in Estonia. Suren Gazaryan, a member of the Environmental Watch on the North Caucasus who reported on the ways in which Sochi organizers are despoiling the environment there, has been given political asylum by Estonia and continues to speak out about the situation around Sochi (rferl.org/content/russia-activist–gazaryan-gazarian-estonia-asylum/25015788.html).
More Sochi Officials Depart as Speculation Grows Mayor Will Be Ousted after Games. Ever more complaints against Sochi officials about what is happening in that city are appearing in the press, apparently prompting the departure of several more senior officials last week and the lodging of criminal charges against them. But more intriguingly, some Sochi residents are speculating that Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov will also lose his job immediately after the completion of the Olympiad (blogsochi.ru/content/gorod-obkhod,blogsochi.ru/content/zamestitel-glavy-goroda-aleksandr-karandin-podal-v-otstavku, and blogsochi.ru/content/novym-merom-sochi-stanet-mikhail-prokhorov).
A Russian Military Camp in Kbaada (Sochi) in 21, May, 1864
A Russian Military Camp in Kbaada (Sochi) in 21, May, 1864
معسكر حربي روسي في كبادا (سوتشي) في 21 مايو/ أيار 1864