Sometime before the Sochi Olympics opening ceremonies in 58 days, try to set a little time aside for this 17 minute excerpt (as viewed on RFE/RL by permission) from Putin’s Games, a film by Director Alexander Gentelev. From the fim’s website:
“The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia will be the first ever to be held in a subtropical resort. The most expensive games ever break all records when it comes to corruption and megalomania. Putin’s administration has everyone at its beck and call, from oligarchs down to the ordinary people who have to pay the Olympic bill. Both the powerful and the weak speak out in this investigative documentary, which unveils the hidden story behind Putin’s games. Government critic Garry Kasparov says that Putin’s Olympic propaganda is really all about speeding up the privatization of land in Sochi. Many inhabitants have had to make way for hotels, ski jumps and a large harbor, which were subsequently swept away by storms and landslides – the Olympic village was built on a swamp in the hottest region of Russia. To a large extent, the story of these environmentally unfriendly Olympic Games is one of threats and enormous misappropriations of money. The 45-kilometer (28-mile) road to the Olympic Village was so expensive that it might as well have been paved with gold or black caviar. Director Alexander Gentelev got to speak to many key figures, from the mayor of Sochi and corrupt contractors, senators and lobbyists to the president of the Russian National Olympic Committee.”
Meanwhile Foreign Policy magazine has photos and excerpts from what looks like a huge coffee table book, The Sochi Project, An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus.
Both show all the fun, clean, aw shucks, doggone it, GOOD FEELING that’s building in southern Russia around these Olympics. Heck, you can almost feel it from here.