The decedent past of Soviet Russia, it turns out, is not that far behind us. Oh sure, Russians might have Wi-Fi, post-soviet sedans, and Hugo Boss… But it’s not exactly the revolutionized and reformed former communist state we’re supposed to believe. And Sochi, home to this year’s Winter Olympics, is not exactly the Salt Lake City, or the Vancouver, of the Black Sea. As Sochi struggles to make their resort town mildly bearable for visitors, in time for the winter Olympics, the world has been given a glimpse into the lack of progress Mother Russia has made since the fall of the “evil Empire”.
To an extent, the Soviet Union is apparently alive and well. At least in practice. With the eyes of the world on Sochi, it is becoming apparent that the façade of progress has changed little since the days of soviet propaganda efforts during the Cold War. The same tactics of deception and public-relation puffery plague the corruption-clad Kremlin. As reporters poured into the resort community for coverage of the year’s biggest sporting event, the blatant incompetence of good-old-fashioned Russian grandstanding was prevalent. (Heck, even New Jersey would have been a better location judging by the tweets from American reporters… And that analysis is coming from a guy in Colorado.)
In fact, the images and initial reaction to Sochi’s “preparedness” (seriously... it's worse than you think) for the winter games begs the question: How is Russia still considered a Super Power? (Well… I guess nuclear weapons do go a long way.) So far, the images and stories that have been reported would seem to be originating from a third world dictatorship. Given the horror stories thus far, it seems more like North Korea was hosting a national press conference than a developed nation preparing for the World’s Games. Water has been declared unsafe for contact (I don’t want to know what happens when you drink it), plumbing is non-existent in some locations, and even basic infrastructure needs have been largely neglected. The problems plaguing reporters would be comical if they weren’t so depressing.