Skip to comments.The Soviet Games Continue in Sochi
Posted on 02/13/2014 6:13:07 AM PST by Kaslin
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 its not exactly the revolutionized and reformed former communist state were supposed to believe. And Sochi, home to this years 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 years 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 Sochis 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 Worlds Games. Water has been declared unsafe for contact (I dont 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 werent so depressing.
The biggest problem seems to have been a quality that Russia carried over from the era of Soviet rule: Corruption, and good-old-fashioned government incompetence. And while corruption is not exclusive to former communist states (or for that matter, currently communist states), it is largely exclusive to big government and statism. After all, its pretty difficult for big business to climb into bed with politicians when they have little power or influence over the nation they govern. Next to black market weaponry and top shelf vodka, corruption seems to be among Russias most plentiful commodity.
The Soviet Union like North Korea, Cuba, and even China today was notorious for its grandstanding and propagandistic efforts to portray itself as cutting edge. Of course the image of Gorbachev using a dial phone was hilarious to a nation that just discovered the potential of fax machines. And today, the image of Sochi hotel rooms missing light bulbs, doorknobs, and clean water incites a similar response from the West. More than two decades after the collapse of the worlds largest communist government, its tradition of centralized power and malicious governance continues with devastatingly incompetent results.
When the Bolsheviks first implemented their revolution in 1917, they portrayed themselves as the savior of the everyman. They were dedicated to freeing the workers from the slavery of business. And they even promised a life of affluence through communal involvement and paternalistic centralization.
But the truth is, the Bolsheviks were like Guy Fawkes They only wanted a different brand of elitism and authoritarianism. (Guy Fawkes, by the way, wanted to blow up Parliament as the first step in implementing a Catholic dictatorship upon the good subjects of King James I. Not exactly the V For Vendetta freedom fighter that vagrant vigilantes envision when they veraciously invoke his visage.) The brand of government that emerged from the ashes of communisms failure had similar intentions. Given Putins crackdown on political opponents, and his penchant for rewarding the politically connected, the resurgence of a grandiose communist-era-Kremlin seems to be more important than competent governance.
The abject failure of Sochi to ready itself for the 2014 Olympic Games (despite a $50 billion spending spree) only offers the world a glimpse into the stagnation of Russian evolution since the early 1990s. Contracts were handed out to firms with personal ties to Putin (almost $7 billion to Arkady Rotenberg, a childhood friend of Putin) and the politically connected. Why? Because big government begets big corruption.
In fact, the abysmal (and quite frankly embarrassing) display in Russia is merely the end result of leftism, and collectivism. More to the point, this is the failing of central planning and governmental monopoly. While the Soviet Union might have died decades ago, the impression that 70 years of communism wrought upon the Russian people has yet to be undone. KGB strongman, Vladimir Putin, is a throwback to the power hungry statists of Soviet politics and it shows.
While Moscow, and a few key cities, have managed to produce great wealth (ironically through their pursuit of capitalistic commerce) much of Russia continues to lag behind. Mother Russia, to the generations that grew up in a post-Stalin world, will always be viewed as a paternalistic government. And when governments fails to achieve on their nannyistic promises, third-rate PR gimmicks (like doorknobs glued onto hotel doors) are all that are left. There may be no more Iron Curtain, but we are still peering into the world that it left behind.
The games will still be fun to watch, despite the glimpse into Russias traditionally despotic form of cronyism. But Im glad Im doing so from the comfort of my living room in America, and not in the communist-era-relic of Sochi. Maybe Vladimir Putin should have asked for Republican Mitt Romneys help in saving Sochi before the Games began
It would probably have cost much less, and local hotels might actually have little things like running water, light bulbs, and lobbies.
I believe I read this article here on FR in the last couple of days. The title was different, but the rest is the same.
The US media continues its diatribes re. the Sochi old style Soviet/Commie system. Maybe its time they start reflecting on the Soviet/Commies within our own government from the top on down.
I watched the opening ceremony and thought it was great. It was their history from their perspective and only a moron would have expected it to be from ours.
As far as the promotion of communism is concerned, again it was part of their history. Not including it would result in the same people squealing like pigs for exactly the opposite reason.
In the end, the real problem people have is that Russia isn’t politically correct and is actually moving in the right general direction.
Regardless of their economic or governance methods, Russians will always be Russians.
Whatever the governance that has come into control in that territory once known as “the United States of America”, it is still in opposition to the reigning regime of the Russian Federation.
In fact I’ve been to Sochi before in has won these Olympics and it was not near as bad as reported. I don’t think it become worse after billions in development programs.
bingo!!! Obama and all his dimocRAT comrade accomplices merely seek to be a different master, ex most of the freedoms we used to enjoy. Someone on FR posted this quote of Daniel Webster in the past:
Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.
Bears repeating: . . . but they mean to be your masters
I believe this article says as much about America’s future as Russia’s past. The paths of advancement and decline are long ones, and shaking off the remnants of the long-settled past can takes some time. But the general directions of both nations are clear, and we might soon meet the Russians in the middle as we travel our opposite slopes.
The fun part starts today with mens hockey
0 is doing his level best to destroy a great nation's foundation and traditions, while Putie built his facade over a crumbled foundation.
Although the Soviet Union collapsed over 20 years ago, you can't just snap your fingers and change the country overnight (unfortunately). It's impossible to tear down cities and rebuild from scratch overnight.
I first came to Russia in 1992. The place was really screwed up. It is a paradise today compared to back then. Socialism/Communism saps the human spirit. It destroys the ability to think for yourself.
It will take years to undo what the communists spent 70 years doing. Look at how badly Obama screwed up America in 5 years. How long will it take to undo the damage of ObamaCare? How do you get people back to work after being on Government support for 5 years.
Substitute Soviet Union with Obama Administration.
Good post, CB !
That ought to tell us what our perspective should be.
Wake up, folks.
What a deeply stupid article. Will someone explain to me why America needs to be picking a fight with the only major power willing to life a finger to aid Christian (or even human) civilization?
Who’s this Schaus guy working for, anyway?
I started reading this for evidence of commie resurgence and I quickly realized it’s all just wild statements with no facts.
I’d bet $10 the author is homo or homo friendly and is upset the Russians have laws against pushing homo propaganda on children.
Add a ton of “half baked” to “good” and it will become “mostly half baked”.
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