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The Hidden Side of Sochi

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Creative Commons

Mary Rose Bernal, Reporter

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With the 2014 Winter Olympics being held in Sochi, Russian citizens had been hopeful about the state of their economic strife.  President Vladimir Putin had been personally involved in the preparations and boasted that the new jobs it created would greatly boost the financial status of the country and avert a crisis.

However, there are no signs of improvement monetarily and the construction seems to only have negative effects for everyone.  According to The Denver Post, citizens residing in sight of the Olympic games have been living in poor conditions such as having no access to running water or a sewage system.  They were further disadvantaged by the installment of a new highway which took years to complete and cut them off from obtaining basic needs.

The documentary Putin’s Games covers the construction and its detrimental impacts and was featured in Amsterdam’s film festival this year.  It backs up rumors of corruption behind the preparations, strengthening the suggestion that the high cost of the Olympics is because of its foundation of embezzled money, and sheds light on environmental issues now faced by Sochi.

What’s equally troubling is that the construction itself has proven to be appallingly inadequate, having been still in progress just days before the monumental event.  Despite this year’s games totaling up to over $50 billion, the disastrous hotel conditions have been so notorious that they have been trending on social media sites.  The Twitter page @SochiProblems has 335,000 followers and exposes the many failures that publicists and athletes have encountered, depicting Sochi as a laughingstock.

Just a few of these include wiring strewed over hallways in the hotels, facilities installed incorrectly, hotel rooms booked months in advance deemed unsuitable for use, visibly contaminated drinking water, and even doors made out of cardboard.  The situations are documented and uploaded to the page with witty captions, presenting a humorous outlook to the serious problem.

If Putin was attempting to put up a more favorable picture of Russia, his plans have flat out backfired.  The groundwork behind the most-watched sports event of the year has had drastic impacts on those living in poverty as well as those participating as athletes and spectators.  It’s going to take a lot more than a shiny new highway and a televised function to prove that Russia is on the track towards economic repletion.

 

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