by Leon Aron
American Enterprise Institute
January 21, 2014
Russian Outlook
In the case of the 2014 Winter Games, which begin February 7 in Sochi, Russia, the challenges and vulnerabilities are far more significant and numerous than usual Olympiads. It will be the first (and almost certainly the last) Winter Games in the subtropics. Virtually the entire infrastructure had to be built from scratch and in haste. While various interest groups exploit every Olympiad, protests in Sochi could be particularly intense. Most ominously, Sochi is next door to a fundamentalist Islamic uprising in which terrorism claims victims almost daily. For the sake of the athletes and fans, one hopes that none of these potential problems will precipitate a disruption. Yet in their choice of location and manner of organization, the Russian authorities have greatly increased that risk. A major setback at the Olympiad could deal a serious blow to the regime’s legitimacy and trigger another round of civil resistance.

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