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Dark Clouds over Sochi Russia

An article in the Moscow Times about Russia’s security measures in Sochi makes for disturbing reading.

It reports that U.S. National Counterterrorism Center director Matthew Olsen told the Senate Intelligence Committee last week:

The biggest issue from my perspective is not the Games themselves, the venues themselves.  There is extensive security at those locations — the sites of the events. The greater threat is to softer targets in the greater Sochi area, in the outskirts beyond Sochi, where there is a substantial potential for a terrorist attack.

So it seems that the anti-Russia terrorists have a horrifying litany of options available to them if they want to avoid the security cordon around the actual Olympics venues in Adler and Krasnaya Polyana:

  1. Attack Sochi-bound traffic in Moscow, far from the Sochi “ring of steel.”
  2. Attack “soft targets” like hotels and restaurants in Sochi itself, just outside the “ring of steel.”
  3. Attack a Russian city left unguarded and previously inaccessible as Russian security forces are diverted en masse to Sochi.

As to the third option, one wonders if the people of Russia were asked whether they’d be willing to sacrifice one of their cities to a Dubrovka or a Beslan in order to keep the Sochi venues safe from harm.

Moreover, the MT reports:  “It seems that Sochi is indeed experiencing problems with accommodating all the security personnel sent to the city. Last month, two police officers from St. Petersburg tried to flee from Sochi, saying that living and working conditions were ‘inhumane,’ Fontanka.ru reported. The news article featured a photograph of two police officers sleeping on the floor in a tiny room.”

So it seems that there are already questions as to how firm the “ring of steel” around the Olympics venues in Sochi actually is.  If security personnel are being forced to live like animals, it’s a safe bet that they are at least a little distracted from their work, and therefore vulnerable.

The security operations are secret, but the general preparations for the games are not, and a recent photo spread in the Washington Post provides disturbing proof of how sloppily the latter are proceeding. The Post shows that stray dogs roam the streets, which are still covered with mud and innumerable construction projects which have not been completed, and that the hotel rooms lack basic amenities such as phones.

If Russia can’t get such simple things right, how likely is it that the security preparations have been flawless?

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13 responses to “Dark Clouds over Sochi Russia

  1. vlad

    Less than 3 weeks before the closing of the Sochi Olympics, Kim! If the Islamic terrorists succeed in killing some athletes or fans, you will look like a genius, and you will be having a big triumphant celebration, Kim.

    If not – you will have a big egg on your face.

    • larussophobe ⋅

      We are not predicting terror events. We are saying that it is incredibly foolhardy to place the games in a location that is totally unprepared and unqualified when the risk of terror events is so high.

      There are only two possible outcomes: Either security will be totalitarian enough to block terror attacks, thus destroying the Olympic spirit and making Russia look like a terrifying dictatorship, or there will be a terrorist attack that will destroy the Games. Either way, the Olympic spirit is doomed in Russia and it is very clear the Games never should have been placed there.

      • rutenburg

        Look, you are omitting the fact that it is the United States, not Russia, that has proven its inability to protect athletes from Chechen terrorism, as we saw at the Boston marathon. Not to mention the 9/11, where 3 thousand Americans perished at the hands of Islamic terrorists, which is a much higher number of casualties than the total number of victims suffered in all Islamic terrorist attacks on Russia put together.

        I have asked you many times before, but you never answered it. So let me repeat the question: given that the US is more vulnerable to Islamic terrorism than Russia, do you agree with the terrorists that all important sports event in the USA must be cancelled? If not, then why do you insist on cancelling them in Russia?

  2. Beetlejuice ⋅

    Enjoying the beautiful Sochi Winter Olympics opening ceremony. Despite all the back breaking efforts of little Kim since 2008 to stop the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia, they went ahead as planned. It was all in vain. Poor little Kim.

    • MCCUSA ⋅

      I also ‘enjoyed’ Sochi Winter Olympics opening ceremony – my favorite part – the tour-ring Olympic symbol – 35 billion, self inflicted humiliation – as we all know; there is stupidity and there is RUSSIAN stupidity…beetlejuice..

  3. mccusa ⋅

    Beetlejuice, what about after the Olympics – do you thinks that there is a possibility to pulverized sochi Olympic village later on…

  4. elmer ⋅

    http://mashable.com/2014/02/06/russian-sochi-shower-cams/

    “We have surveillance video from the hotels that shows people turn on the shower, direct the nozzle at the wall and then leave the room for the whole day,” Dmitry Kozak, the deputy prime minister who oversaw Russia’s Olympic prep, told the Journal.

  5. elmer ⋅

    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/150-years-ago-Sochi-was-the-site-horrific-ethnic-cleansing-180949675/?page=1

    150 Years Ago, Sochi Was the Site of a Horrific Ethnic Cleansing

    …..
    But on the occasion of the 2014 Winter Olympics being held in Sochi and the surrounding areas, it’s helpful to look back and remember that 600,000 locals died from starvation, exposure, drowning and massacres in a concerted campaign by the Russian Empire to expel the Circassian people, as they were called, from the region. The Circassians and the other inhabitants of the Caucasus region did not fit into the Czar’s reform program, because he viewed them as an inherent risk to the security of Russia’s southern frontier and the nation is still coming to terms with the consequences of the czar’s expulsion of the Circassian people today.

    …..
    Those Circassians who attempted to remain in the Russian Empire and fight for their land were massacred. Sochi’s “Red Hill,” where the skiing and snowboarding events will take place during these Olympic Games, was the site of the Circassian last stand, where the Imperial Russian armies celebrated their “victory” over the local defenders.

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