The Kremlin’s Sochi Lies Risk Lives
Here’s what Dmitry Chernyshenko, head of security for the Sochi Olympics in 2014, told Reuters last week: “Sochi is the summer residence of our president and prime minister, that says everything. This is one of the safest and most secure places in Russia and it’s the state with the highest security level.”
It was one of the most sensational and outrageous lies yet told by the malignant regime of Vladimir Putin, placing the lives of tens of thousands of people around the world in jeopardy and showing the absolute contempt with which Putin views basic values of honesty and integrity.
We reported on April 20th about the horrifying string of terrorist bombings that have been plaguing Sochi for more than a year now. Six Russians have been killed, 50 injured. But it seems Chernyshenko didn’t catch that day’s issue.
If Chernyshenko wasn’t lying, then he was ignorant of the bombings. Either way, this man obviously cannot be trusted with the precious, innocent lives of the world’s elite athletes. But, of course, he knew. He, and his Kremlin masters, are unwilling to face up honestly to the serious security issues presented by Sochi, and that means they can’t possibly take them seriously enough. In fact, they may not even understand them, so blinded are they by their need for propaganda. That puts not only the lives of Russian citizens at risk, but the lives of people throughout the world.
It’s telling that this maniac didn’t even try to give any crime statistics for Sochi. The fact is that being “one of the safest and most secure places in Russia” is hardly saying anything when the country is one of the most dangerous in the world, with appalling rates of murder, fire fatalities and airline disasters. A city that is one of Russia’s “safest” can still, easily, be one of the world’s most lethal.
And perhaps even more important, strapped for cash the Russian government is in no position to devote the necessary resources to preserving the athletes’ safety even if it were willing to acknowledge the need to do so. Incidents of terrorism have exploded in both Chechnya and Ingushetia, and nearby Ossetia and Abkhazia remain unstable, but the Kremlin is disengaging rather than engaging there, because it simply doesn’t have the cash. Even before the financial crisis struck, Russia’s management of the games was a classic neo-Soviet nightmare, and the crisis only ups the ante on the insanity. In fact, a cynic could easily make the argument that Chernyshenko’s statement had no purpose other than to avoid the need to spend more money on the Sochi games, money Russia simply doesn’t have.
All this means that the world is sending its athletes into a meat grinder of truly horrifying proportions.
The Kremlin’s minions continue this outrageous behavior, believing they can get away with it, because there is nobody to check them, just as was the case in Soviet times. Last week, the Moscow Times reported that the heroic journalists at Novaya Gazeta have not been paid in more than a month even though they are owned by a billionaire. The entire mainstream press corps, from the broadcast TV networks to the large national newspapers, are all in the Kremlin’s pocket. There are no true opposition parties in the Duma, and the Kremlin has direct control over local government. It has just recently orchestrated the Sochi mayoral elections to place its handpicked stooge in the seat of power.
So it’s impossible that Russians will correct the situation, indeed most won’t even be aware of it. For the world to send its athletes into this horrifically risky situation is the height of irresponsibility. The madness must end.