Quips and pictures of double-toilet stalls aside, Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins has a scathing article about the problems facing the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. And very serious problems. The cost is only part of that problem, and the small part. Far larger is the terrorist threat, given the ongoing battles between Russia and Chechnyan rebels -- and more. This isn't all guesswork, there are been recent bombing and deaths near Sochi recently. As she writes in one part --
"Let’s be clear about something: The people most at risk in Sochi are ordinary Russians. They’re the ones being drained and even impoverished by these crooked $50 billion Games, and who are at greater risk of being killed because nationalist insurgents in the North Caucasus have promised to add blood to the tab. Scare stories about “black widows” infiltrating the village, and warships on alert, aren’t the half of it. Insurgents from Chechnya, Dagestan and Abkhazia have vowed to strike the Olympics, and they have the capacity to do it. In 2013 there were 375 deaths from attacks in the region. In 2012 Russian forces found a cache of ammunition just 24 miles from Sochi meant for attacks on the Games, including homemade bombs, land mines, mortars and grenade launchers. Then there are infuriated Syrian fighters seeking revenge for Putin’s support of President Bashar al-Assad. To put it plainly, Putin and the IOC have chosen to host an Olympics on the edge of a war zone."
One added concern has been that the Russian government has not looked outside the country for assistance with security. On the positive side, I heard on the radio just yesterday afternoon that a Russian official has finally made an overture to NATO for help. The American NATO officer in charge is now studying the proposal.
You can read the whole article by clicking here.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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