2014 Winter Olympics: Corruption Behind the Scenes?
The Winter Olympics of 2014 are slated to begin early February, but the the lead up to the athletic events has been highly political, with major issues raised regarding the location of the events, as well as the political and social stances that the Russian government has; LGBT rights and privacy issues, compromised freedom of speech and freedom of the press, terrorism concerns, and accusations of major corruption have all cropped up in recent weeks.
Now, an anti-corruption activist and former candidate for Moscow’s Mayor, Alexei Navalny, has created a website inundated with accusations that Russia used twice as much money as should have been required in order to set up its Sochi Winter Olympics. Navalny says on his site that, “Athletes are not the only people who compete in Sochi. Officials and businessmen also took part in the games and turned them into a source of income.”
The Associated Press points out that Russia has put approximately $51 billion into the Sochi Winter Olympics, and that this amounts to the most money spent on the Olympic games, despite the fact that the winter games have fewer athletes to host than the summer games. On top of that, a 2012 Audit Chamber report stated that the games for Sochi had gone around $500 million over reasonable costs for the set up. In a TV interview, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that, “If anybody has got this information, please show this to us. But so far we haven’t seen anything except speculation,” as reported by the Associated Press.