Don’t Rain on Putin’s Olympic Parade

The opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games will take place in Sochi on Friday. Regrettably, as soon as this venue was selected by the Olympic Committee in July 2007 in Guatemala, the Western media unleashed a vicious, often hypocritical, and extremely biased campaign against Sochi and Russia in general.

It has been dominated by stories about cost overruns and rampant corruption, discrimination against gays and possible deadly terrorist attacks. Anything to spoil the atmosphere. Russia- and Putin-haters from the neocon camp, LGBT radicals and sensation-mongering journalists effectively joined forces with Islamist terrorists in an attempt to discredit the Games.

697357395The closer we get to the opening of the Olympics, the more the Western media tries to sabotage the Games, to rob Russia and President Vladimir Putin of whatever credit they deserve for building an Olympic city in Sochi virtually from scratch.

The ill-wishers dwell on incomplete facilities, buildings “on the verge of collapse,” power outages, too little snow and even tiny sinks in hotel rooms. Anything is fair game to deprive Russia of its well-deserved prestige as host of the Games.

For example, The Washington Post, which has richly deserved its sobriquet “Pravda on the Potomac,” has been overflowing in anti-Sochi venom in its coverage of the Olympics over the past weeks. For example, a Jan. 22 comment by the newspaper’s sports columnist, Sally Jenkins, used the word “thug” when referring to Putin’s regime, whom the U.S. considers a partner in the war on terrorism. What’s more, the U.S. has formed more than 20 bilateral government commissions with Russia on a wide range of issues, including arms control, counter-narcotics, energy, environment and space.

Jenkins’ article suggested that the International Olympic Committee made a gross mistake by selecting Sochi in the first place, endangering the security of athletes and spectators. In reality, of course, the entire world faces the threat of Islamic terrorism. Should we then cancel all athletic and cultural events? This would allow the terrorists to claim victory in their battle.

U.S. President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande and other Western leaders should not boycott the Sochi Games. They should attend them in a show of solidarity with the Russian people.

Perhaps the only good news amid all of the anti-Sochi criticism is that British and U.S. security services are working with their Russian colleagues to protect the Sochi Olympics. There needs to be more of this type of cooperation and less bile directed at Russia.

Russia, of course, is not a full-fledged developed democracy. But it would help for all critics to appreciate the dramatic changes that the country has made in a relatively short time. Unfortunately, most of them do not want to see these changes and prefer to present Russia as the reincarnation of the Soviet Union.

Notably, Gian-Franco Kasper, an ­International Olympic Committee member, said a European city would need 150 years to build the same sports facilities that Russia was able to build in six years.

In any case, let us wish all athletes good luck in the upcoming Olympics that they have spent so many hours and years training for and the most thrilling time to all the spectators.

Edward Lozansky is president of the American University in Moscow.

Source:The Moscow Times


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  1. “Russia, of course, is not a full-fledged developed democracy”: this quote spoiled any positive credit this article was attempting to convey. First, let me say something about the U.S. deep involvement in global terrorism against Syria and by proxy against Russia. The U.S. and France-two countries the article mentioned- along with the Gulf Wahhbi oil-sheikdoms-are the primary supporters of A Qaida terrorism inside Syria. John Kerry admitted on record that thousands of Americans are fighting alongside of Al Qaida terrorists inside Syria. France is weak old colonial state that is making pathetic attempts to reclaim some of its past colonial domains in Africa and in Syria as well.

    What I find most stunning is how and why Americans –even by those from the left- still speak their country as an exemplary democracy when in reality the U.S. represents the greatest threat to global security and democracy. Now the Sochi games. The Russians should once and for all end their dream of being respected by the members of the imperialist classes. Today the entire world including millions of the citizens of the West are looking to Russia and to the President Vladimir Putin for global leadership. The Russians must know- and I am sure they do know it—that the West speaks from the standpoint of weakness and envy of Russia. Russians must shrug off Western Russophobia.

    Russia must focus on putting an amazing opening show and offer Russian hospitality to the athletes, journalists and all those who come to Russia. Sochi games will be the biggest and the greatest Winter Olympic Games ever- because Russia is the biggest country in the world and Russia is old and powerful culture and tradition. It is the fear of Russia as both an ancient civilization and as a remerging modern power which is behind Western Russophobia. I find Western media Russophobia- frightening and disgusting. After the Sochi games-Russia must increase investment and tourism in this part of Russia by focusing primarily on China, and Pacific Asian tourists and investors. Russia must end illusion of gaining genuine respect from the members of Western imperialists. Russia must focus on Eurasia and Latin America for economic investments and cultural ties.

  2. Dr James B Thring

    The Editor

    The defamatory propaganda against Russia’s spectacular Olympics is so mendacious, pervasive and orchestrated by ‘western’ media, which is predominantly owned and controlled by a few notorious oligarchs, that it must emanate from one source with its usual stinging objectives. It is almost certainly to denigrate Premier Putin’s natural defence against the spread of AIDS, homosexuality and the corruption of youth, his righteous arrest of avaricious financial fraudsters and his brave support for the Syrian government, the Palestinians and Iran. Most of humanity would regard these causes as just and laudable. That the media rails against them proves its ties to the one entity which actively indulges in War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide against the Palestinians and other Nations, in espousing sodomy and in banking fraud and in theft of, amongst other things, nuclear technology. Luckily, it is so blatant that all but the most blinkered, brainless, biased or bribed souls will see through it. Unfortunately, many of those who occupy positions of power fall into one or more of those forsaken categories. They thus use our defences, propaganda media and taxes with alacrity to help their felon friends to ever more depraved attacks on the rest of humanity. Those who are left have to peacefully resist these dangerous criminals by at very least expressing our disapproval. It can be more effective to boycott the culprits, write to the key players who are not programmed, use the communications media while it is still open to us and finally take legal action.

  3. jesualdo correia

    This piece should have been translated and one way or another published in the mainstream media throughout the world, just to keep a reasonable level of rationale still alive! Lucid, objective to the heart of the matter. What a shame all this !

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