Speaking to foreign officials presenting their credentials before the winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, President Vladimir Putin assured the public over the country's anti-homosexual laws that has, among many other things, put people in prison for merely protesting the laws.
"The Olympic Games will be held in full compliance with the Olympic charter, without any discrimination on any basis," Putin said.
Ah, well, that should be reassuring. Mind you, it wasn't like people were expecting him to say that the Games wouldn't be held in compliance the the Olympic charter and would be rife with discrimination. Mind you, too, the protests and international outrage hasn't been about what will happen to Olympic athletes at Sochi, but what is happening to people living in Russia all the time.
It's not like anyone expected the KGB to rush out on the ice during the 1,000 meter speed skating race and yank someone off the track. Or during Ski Jumping, shoot someone out of the sky before they dare to touch down on land. Or take one look at the costumes for the Ice Dancing Skating competition and shut it down before it can even begin, just to be sure.
But we have President Putin's calming words that all's well in Russia. At least during the Olympics. If you're an athlete.
By the way, a Reuters article on the subject had the following passage, "In an attempt to improve Russia's image on human rights before the Games, Putin has already eased curbs on protests in Sochi, freed members of the Pussy Riot punk protest group under an amnesty and released former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who had been Russia's most famous prisoner."
Reading that, one question popped out, completely unrelated to the topic of the paragraph. How does one become a "former oil tycoon." Did he lose all of his money? That would seem hard to do, once you hit tycoon status. Even if you blew three-quarters of it, though, you'd have a whole lot left over by oil tycoon standards, so it seems unlikely. My guess would be that he's retired, but I'd think that would still make him an oil tycoon, since that's where he got his tycoon status. After all, when a football coach retires, they still call him "coach. When a senator retires and is no longer a senator, they still call him "Senator." Certainly an oil tycoon would get the same courtesy. At the very least, perhaps "retired oil tycoon" would fit. Of course, I have no problem with accuracy, and if in fact the fellow is indeed retired and Reuters believes he no longer qualifies as an oil tycoon, I say good for them for sticking to their standards. I just hope they stay consistent...
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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