Putin Hopes Sochi Olympics "Cheer Up" Dejected Russians

Jan 19 2014, 3:06am CST | by

Putin Hopes Sochi Olympics "Cheer Up" Dejected Russians

Russians have had a tough go of life lately.

At least that is what former KGB man and third term President Vladimir Putin said in Moscow over the weekend. And the up-coming Sochi Winter Olympics along the Black Sea is just the thing to cheer them up.

“After the collapse of the USSR and the difficult and bloody events in the Caucasus, the general state of society is one of dejection and pessimism. We need to cheer up.  We need to understand and feel that we can put on such large-scale projects,” Putin said in an interview that will air on Sunday.

The games have faced criticism of late, particularly over an anti-gay law passed by last year that bans thematic “propaganda” targeting young people.  Then there has been a new round of security fears after a double suicide bombing on a trolley bus in the southern Russian city of Volgograd last month, killing 32 people.

See: Artificial Snow Ready For Sochi – RIA Novosti

Putin said his security forces were working to keep the Olympics safe. ”Our task is to provide security for participants of the Olympics and guests of this sporting festival, and we’ll do everything possible for that,” he said.

Putin’s comments came hours after the Kremlin-controlled leader of Russia’s southern republic of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, said that one terrorist who had threatened to attack the Olympics, Doku Umarov, was killed by law enforcement.  Though Umarov has been declared dead several times over the last few years and the Chechen offered no proof that it was true this time around.

Russia’s Interior Ministry, which controls the police, also vowed recently to enforce the controversial anti-gay law at the Olympics. There will also be restrictions on protests, which will be confined to a park in a small town 12 kilometers from Sochi.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak said the protest zone complies with the Olympic rules, and that the Russian government would not discriminate against gay visitors or athletes providing they abide by the law not to “promote homosexuality”.

President Barack Obama will not attend the Olympics. His nomination of two gay former athletes to America’s Olympic delegation has been widely reported as a snub of the Russian law.

Stories leading up to the Olympics, which begin on Feb. 7, will likely zero in on Putin’s anti-protest and ant-gay propaganda ruling.

Stay tuned…

Source: Forbes Business


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