Week One of Competition at Sochi

Over on the powerful and influential American Thinker blog, LR publisher and founder Kim Zigfeld reviews the first week of Olympic competition at Sochi, Russia, and finds that for every step forward, and there were several big, impressive ones, Russia took five steps back.

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Tide of Negative Press Sweeps over Putin and Russia

Putin is always late, like a schoolboy, embarrassing his country.

Putin has failed Russia’s villages, and is now reduced to bribing people to leave them as ghost towns.

Putin can’t even keep the lights on in Sochi, and in desperation has cancelled Christmas for its workers.  Meanwhile, yet another Olympic torch bearer burst into flames. Ouch!

Despite a personal appeal in halting English by Putin, Russia loses its World Expo 2020 bid.

While obsessing in a paranoid manner about threats from abroad, Putin is recklessly ignoring the virulent toxins with the body Russia that look poised to destroy the country.

These are these are stories that the BBC, NBC, the Wall Street Journal, the Telegraph, USA Today, the Moscow Times and the Financial Times are telling about Russia. They speak for themselves, don’t they?

Everywhere you Look in Putin’s Russia, Catastrophe Greets You

The horrific bad news inundating Russia in recent days has been truly breathtaking.

First, Georgia’s new president Georgy Margvelashvili declared that it is his intention to pursue the same pro-Western course followed by the departed  Mikheil Saakashvili, much despised by Russia for his pro-West policies.  Just like Ukraine,  Margvelashvili  wants integration with the EU and NATO membership for Russia.

Then, Russia’s only doping laboratory was embroiled in a massive scandal just months before Russia is to host the 2014 Olympics, another devastatingly humiliating blow to Russia’s reputation.

And finally, yet another passenger airliner dropped out of the Russian skies, killing more than four dozen people. Reuters reported:  “IATA said last year that global airline safety had improved but that accident rates had risen in Russia.”

On top of all this, of course, Russia is facing a massive economic downturn, and the Kremlin’s own economic gurus have admitted that it won’t recover within the next decade.

Russians asked to be ruled by a totally unqualified KGB spy, and these are the rewards they reap for that decision.

Russia and its “Danger Games”

Cynics on Russia though we may be, not even we dared to dream that Russia could humiliate itself so badly in the conduct of the Winter Olympics before the Games ever even started.  We always thought the event itself might collapse in failure, both on the playing field and off, but we never imagined Russia could drag the games into such a miasma of failure during the mere preparations.

Over on the powerful and influential American Thinker blog, LR publisher and founder Kim Zigfeld has all the horrifying details.  All the terror you possibly could ask for, just in time for Halloween (which, by the way, Russia is now trying to ban).

Exposing Putin’s Online Propaganda Machine

Over on the powerful and influential American Thinker website, LR founder and publisher Kim Zigfeld reveals how the Putin propaganda machine is switching into overdrive to deluge the world with lies about the Sochi Olympics.

There’s great need for these lies, of course, since the truth is so very painful.

Within the past few days alone, the world has gaped slack-jawed as the oafish Russians have repeatedly allowed the Olympic flame to flicker out, and Russia’s woeful efforts to complete the Olympic venues are equally laughable (despite reportedly costing as much as billion dollars, the central stadium is still not close to being ready).  Dozens of U.S. congressmen are openly calling for protests against Russia’s barbaric crackdown on homosexuals to occur at the games. In short, Russia’s attempt to host the games is an absurd fiasco, underlined by the total insanity of staging the games in a tropical beach resort that is surrounded by outraged terrorist groups.

Welcome to Russia!

Last week, Russian “Prime Minister” Dima Medvedev published a photograph on Instagram of the new “Ice Palace” in Sochi, Russia, which will be the focal point of the 2014 Winter Games.  The photo showed the palace at the top of a steep hill mounted by an enormous flight of stairs.

In response, a commenter asked Medvedev: “И как люди передвигающиеся на колясках должны преодолевать эти 100500 ступенек?”  In other words, how would a disabled person grapple with such an obstacle.

It was a legitimate question.  All across Russia, disabled citizens face relentless discrimination and a near total lack of accessibility, with stone-faced indifference from most of their fellow citizens.  Such an attitude is flatly barred by the Olympic Charter, which requires accessibility, and in fact Russia is obligated to host the parallel “paralympics” along with the main show, meaning it would play host to dozens of disabled athletes.

When Medvedev did not respond, we followed up with him on Twitter.  We stated:  “You were asked on Instagram how a wheelchair-bound fan would navigate all those stairs. What is your answer?”

Medvedev didn’t respond to us, either. But one “ndennisv” from San Jose, California sure did.  He stated:  “Dumb question. Whoever asked that is a comlete [sic] dimwit. They are supposed to use a ramp or an elevator.”

Welcome to Russia!

Ask an honest question, and get your head bitten off!  In fact, Medvedev’s photograph does not reveal any ramp or elevator which could be used by a handicapped person to circumvent the stairs, so the question was very far from being “dumb.”

After a laborious saga of back-and-forth with “ndennisv” following his gratuitous insult, a saga which included plenty more insults, we finally obtained from him a picture of the Ice Palace showing the area to the left of the stairway, which was not apparent in Medvedev’s photograph.  In this photograph, it can clearly be seen that there are both ramps and elevators available to the disabled to reach the Ice Palace entrance.

Most people, of course, wouldn’t follow up as we did.  Most people, after being ignored and then gratuitously insulted, would simply drop the matter and assume the Ice Palace was just one more example of Russia’s brutal disregard of the interests of its disabled citizens.  And they’d come away, of course, with a pretty bitter attitude towards Russia.

Needless to say, “ndennisv” refused to acknowledge that Russia had any problem whatsoever with its treatment of the disabled.  In fact, he acted like ramps at the Ice Palace prove their are ramps everywhere, in typical neo-Soviet fashion.  What could have been  PR win for Russia, in which “ndennisv” promptly and cordially provided an answer to our question on Medvedev’s behalf, and simultaneously acknowledged that Russia has much more work to do beyond the Ice Palace, turned into a confirmation of all that is thought ill of Russia.

This little exchange is, in other words, Russia in perfect microcosm. It is why Russia has been forced to hire Western PR teams to try to battle against the relentlessly negative images that Russians create for themselves, a battle they cannot hope to win because of Russia’s boundless energy and productivity in this regard.  It illustrates why it was such a mistake for Russians to seek to host the games, which willy give the world that much more opportunity to experience this brutality up close and personal.

Another perfect example is homosexuals. How is it possible that the Kremlin could be so benighted as to fail to recognize that it needed to wait to commence its crackdown on gays until the Olympics and FIFA world cup proceedings had been completed?  By pushing ahead to early, Russians stripped billions of dollars of public relations gold out of their coffers, and turned these expensive events into negatives.  And all this is happening just as the Russian economy heads for a double-dip recession!

Welcome to Russia!