Sochi Olympics Watch #21

It’s game time. The iron fist has closed around Sochi.

In an effort to “place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity,” – one of the principles of Olympism – “(a)n army of 30,000 is deployed. A further 40,000 police and internal security troops lie in reserve. Missile launchers and tracking devices are commissioned. Air and naval units stand ready. On Tuesday this entire force was put on ‘combat alert’ for a month.”, writes the Guardian.

Since 2009 Common Sense and Whiskey’s Sochi Olympics Watch has been pointing out that Sochi and Grozny, ground zero in the vicious Chechen wars, are scarcely 250 miles apart. From March 2009:

“Today’s International Herald Tribune carries the following story: Chechen leader imposes strict Islamic code. Business Week/Spiegel points out that there have been six bomb attacks in Sochi proper over the past year, and four people have died.

The last Russian games were the American-boycotted 1980 Moscow summer Olympics. Perhaps the IOC decided that after 34 years, it was Russia’s turn again. We’ll see how it turns out, but the Olympic Committee’s wisdom at picking the Russian Caucasus looks a little dicey from here.”

With 34 deaths in Volgagrad associated with the Sochi games a month before they begin, I’d say the best the Olympic Committee can hope for from Vladimir Putin’s vanity project is relief, if it ends with no further violence.

(Whatever befalls these games, Putin picks up a little something.)

Big Sports just thinks funny. Stand by for World Cup Watch, Qatar 2022.

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