Saturday, April 26, 2008

Sochi fails to impress

In continuing with the dictatorships and their Olympics dreams theme, a story from the Moscow Times (via La Russophobe – a blog brimming with depressing news about Russia) talks about the Russians' troubles in Sochi. In the world of Olympics politics, Russia had to at least be given a Winter Olympics, and so the southern resort city of Sochi will host the 2014 Winter Olympics. Though Putin did better than Aliyev in Azerbaijan in that he actually got the Olympics, it appears there is trouble with the construction. The IOC commission was a bit concerned when accusations of mismanagement and cost overruns started showing up in the media. But now, apparently the head of the oh-so-Sovietly named state corporation "Olimpstroi" has resigned amidst the scandal:

When Vainshtok resigned last Thursday, government officials said the change in command had been planned in advance and would not affect the pace of preparations.

But a flurry of subsequent media reports suggested that Vainshtok had quit because he realized the task was too unwieldy.

"It is very difficult to make Sochi an Olympic city," an unidentified official said, RIA-Novosti reported. "There are many infrastructure limitations – no electricity, no roads, no way to get cargoes there needed for building."

Hint to future authoritarians considering hosting the Olympics: it's not worth the embarrassment.

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