Sochi Olympic Games Overshadowed By Security, Construction Worries

By Robert Harneis, Associate Editor,
2/16/2011 8:35:54 AM

The preparations for the 2014 Winter Olympics at Sochi in Russia have been overshadowed by threats to security and a change at the head of the construction company. A suicide bomb at Moscow Domodedovo airport left 35 dead and many more injured and Taimuraz Bolloev the head of the construction arm of the games Olympstroy, has resigned on the grounds of ‘ill health'.

The International Olympic Committee have been quick to say that they have every confidence that the Russian authorities who are responsible for security are up to the task whilst confirming that it is "a top priority". The Russian authorities themselves have announced a record breaking security budget of 58 billion roubles or about 2 billion dollars to cover the Winter Olympics and the Para Olympics that take place shortly afterwards. They stress that particular care has been taken to provide a secure environment in the planning of the various facilities. The sensitivity of all concerned is all the more understandable as this is the second serous attack in six months on public transport. It is to be hoped that the political atmosphere at the root of the problem in the Russian Caucasus, close to Sochi will be better in 2014 than it is at the moment.

Despite the latest construction hiccup there is every indication that the work is on schedule. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dimitri Kozak commented on the departure of the head of Bolloev, saying "There were no facts presented concerning abuse or corruption at SC Olympstroy or any other authority or body". An indication of the importance of the post is his immediate replacement by Sergey Gaplikov, Deputy to the chief of staff of the Russian government.

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