Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The truth about these past Winter Olympics could be a sequel to any mobster movie only the main character here was Putin and the setting was in a summertime resort town of Sochi, the warmest place in Russia. It is Putin’s favorite place to relax and is visited by political insiders and rich Russians.  Is that any kind of place to hold a winter Olympics? Right now Putin is marching to the Ukraine to take his pompous selfishness there and get involved in their conflicts. We all need to reflect and see the damage he already did to his economy and to his own suffering people so he and his friends could have a modern playground for himself in the future in Sochi.

Sochi was a little known Russian city closer to Beirut than Moscow. Sochi is located in the warmest region of otherwise a cold country, a sub-tropical resort complete with Palm trees.  They were the most expensive games in Olympic history. Nothing as trivial as money stayed in the way of him building up his playground. He spent 50 Billion dollars, yes Billion with a B to create hotels and roads and the spectacle we all saw on TV. All of the costs to create all previous Winter Olympics added up together since the 1920’s do not add up to the Billions of dollars spent at Sochi. My friend who went there said they carved roads out of mountain ranges for easier access to the town.

They stored snow in giant tents under refrigeration for when they knew there would not b enough snow for the 2 weeks of games. The tents cost 10 Million dollars. They built 30 miles of new roads and rail lines just to get to the mountains at a cost of 9 Billion dollars. That is like 60 thousand a square   foot. The guy who built the roads has a country house next door to Putin at the end of that new road. Meanwhile the citizens of Russia do not have adequate infrastructure like sewers and safe roads and bridges or decent housing in their towns where their tax paying money should have been spent. Putin is just another greedy Dictator.

I compare Putin to a Mafia boss in that he acts the same way. He is using the games to spread the wealth around to some of his best friends who are the wealthy titans of industry in the new Russia who run the country and who keep Putin in power. The 9 Billion road job went to one of Putin’s closest comrades who runs the state owned Russian railroads. Another buddy of his was awarded another 7 Billion dollars in assorted contracts. The games was a perfect way to shift funds from the Treasury to private hands and he succeeded to line the palms of his friends with as much money as he could get his hands on.  At the end of the day, his money laundering satisfied the   appetites   of his ruling elite.

Russian TV is also run by the government so you didn’t hear about the private contractors that had to pay government officials bags of money regularly just to have some work go their way on projects. Those who revealed this are living in other countries now for fear of losing their lives if they return to Russia. This is not a sensational novel. It is true that the event was clothed in widespread waste, cronyism and kickbacks. The ski jump was built with over 200 Million dollars over budget. The beautiful Olympic village looks like castles emerging from the background of rustic natural undeveloped mountain ranges.

The reality is that Russians have a hard life. The average life span of a citizen there is only 69 years old for men and 63 for men. The standard of living is at a poverty level. The billions that were spent on the winter Olympics should have been spent on providing the citizens of that country clean running water and toilets that flush. That is just 2 things that tens of millions of Russians just don’t have. My friend said that just up the road from Sochi is government housing that the fronts of the buildings were given a new coat of paint but inside is a disaster.

People live in single rooms no bigger than a walk in closet. It is not uncommon that 5 families share one outdated kitchen with bad plumbing and filth. Cleaning products are expensive there. The world saw the vibrant color and pageantry of the winter Olympics while the poor reality of the Russian people was masked by a single new coat of paint.  Wooden fences were built along the highways to cover the shanty towns along the way to Sochi. There are thousands of people living in poverty in Sochi.  God help the Ukrainians that are now being subjected to the desires of just another crazy pompous Dictator.

If this is Putin’s idea of a new Russian democracy then he doesn’t know the first thing about democracy. Instead of unifying his country the Sochi demonstration gives most Russians and people of the world a sick feeling in their gut. The winter Olympics had nothing to do with sportsmanship. It was a festival of corruption and mismanagement of funds that should have been spent on 20 Million poor Russian people. I think Putin is too expensive for the Russian people.

Putin could care less about his critics from anywhere. He proudly displayed the Olympic flame in Red Square, to the North Pole and he even took it on a Russian rocket into outer space. Let’s put him on a one way rocket into outer space and leave him there.

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