Sochi Winter Olympics opens amidst highest security

Sochi Winter Olympics opens amidst highest security

President Vladimir Putin has invested time and money to make the Winter Olympics successful in Sochi beginning on 7-23 February, a project of pride of Russia and spent reportedly billions of dollars, making them the most expensive Olympics in history.

The Olympic Games are the competition of outstanding sportsmen and women from all countries of the world. It is a place whether human beings show their best in sports and therefore is always a spectacular event. National anthems are played for those who win medals and they are proud of their countries to represent, forgetting the arduous practice at home for months together.

Sochi is located on the Black Sea coast near the border between Georgia//Abkhazia and Russia. It is one of the very few places in Russia with a subtropical climate, with warm to hot summers and mild winters.

One impact of Sochi games reportedly seen was the release of Russian oil tycoon Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky after 10 years in prison on 20th December and flew to Berlin on a private jet. On December 26 Russia also formally dropped criminal charges against Greenpeace activists arrested in a protest over Arctic oil drilling, under a Kremlin amnesty extended to all 30 who had been facing up to seven years in jail, if convicted and the remaining members of punk band Pussy Riot.

All the cases have drawn sharp criticism from both Western governments and NGOs including Amnesty International.

Observers say President Putin has shown his kinder profile in releasing prisoners who attracted attention worldwide. The President has been keen to see pass off the Winter Olympics smoothly with participation of all countries.

However,, the suicide bombings at a train station and in a trolley bus in Volvograd (formerly known as Stalingrad) on 29th December, and 30th December, reportedly killing scores of people and wounding hundreds have raised the spectre of a new wave of terrorism before the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Volvograd is the first major city north of the Caucasus, and its location is 400 miles from Sochi Analysts believe that suicide bombers have now twice targeted Volvograd because of its location.

It is noted the republics of the North Caucasus, including Dagestan, Chechnya and Adygea, have for nearly two decades been embroiled in complex, ever-shifting armed conflicts that the International Crisis Group recently called ”the most violent in Europe today”.

It is reported President Putin paid a visit to Volgograd on 1st January 2014, and had a meeting with survivors of twin suicide bombings and promising beefed-up security around the country ahead of the Winter Olympic Games. “Whatever motivated the criminals’ actions, there’s no justification for committing crimes against civilians, especially against women and children,” .

For most Russians, these attacks came as a huge shock. Despite public assurances that the troubles in the Caucasus were coming under control, clashes between extremists and government troops, and some small-scale attacks, have continued.

Many Russians are now asking why the country’s powerful security services failed to stop the bombers, accusing them of complacency and unprofessionalism. However the International Olympic Committee President reportedly said he had confidence that Russian authorities would deliver “safe and secure” Games in Sochi.

On 9th January, US FBI director James Comey reportedly said that the bureau would dispatch several dozen agents to Russia to help tighten security at the Winter Olympics. .

The Sochi Games are the first since 2000 to which the U.S. is not sending a president, former president, first lady or vice president, according to AP. The U.S. and Russia have clashed over several issues in recent months, including the Syrian civil war and Moscow’s decision to grant asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.

President Francois Hollande and German President Joachim Gauck are reportedly also staying away from the games.. Furthermore it is reported European Union Commissioner Viviane Reding said: “I will certainly not go to Sochi as long as minorities are treated the way they are under the current Russian legislation,” Reuters reported

Observers say the Western leaders are avoiding the Sochi games because of Russia’s new anti-gay law. (interestingly United States picks gay athletes for delegation to Sochi Olympics)

Mikhail Khodorkovsky reportedly has said from Berlin the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi are a “celebration of sport” that should not be damaged by boycott.

Sochi quickly becoming a focus of world attention as the finish line for preparations approaches for the Winter Games on 7th February. Recently militants have .threatened an attack on Sochi.

We from Bangladesh hope the Sochi Winter Olympic Games are held peacefully and such games should not be subject to politics.

All games signify unity among diversity. Sportsmen and women exhibit the highest and the best of their performance. And who those watch games are not only exposed to country’s unique culture, history, music and dance but also witness the spirit of sportsmanship of the competitors whether they win the medals or not.

Such games may be described as globalisation among relationships of human beings which strengthens mutual understanding among people who participate and witness the games, leading eventually to international peace and security in the world..

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