Sochi 2014. Today and tomorrow
Triumphal reports on record investments in the Olympic Committee that sounded during the investment forum in the City of Sochi are confirmed only by several contracts, new membership of the Presidential Council on the Olympics and by an outrageous law that permits dispossessing of private houses, demolishing them and even forced people resettlement. Sochi citizens are disturbed. They worry for ecology, their common way of living and their private property.
The RF president Vladimir Putin has approved the membership of the Presidential Council for the Development of Physical Culture and Sport. Preparation and holding of the XXII Winter Olympics and XI Winter Paralympics 2014 in the City of Sochi are also under the jurisdiction of the Council. Vladimir Putin himself heads the Council; the first vice-president is the premier minister Victor Zubkov.
Vice-presidents are the vice-premier of the Russian Federation Alexander Zhukov, the Regional Development Minister Dmitry Kozak, and the Head of the Presidential Administration Sergei Sobyanin. Dmitry Chernyshenko who has been headed the bid to host the Winter Olympics is appointed as the CEO of the Committee. The Regional Development Ministry now headed by a president’s confident person Dmitry Kozak supervises the Olympics project.
The mission “Sochi 2014” is realized according all state machine traditions. Officials of A-class, businessmen of the equal rank jointly with the head of the Sochi state-run corporation, “Transneft” ex-chief Semen Vainshtok are to get down to business all together and prove that we are able to hold the Olympics properly.
One of the factors that has made for the victory of the Russian bid is a successful use of marketing technologies, Polit.ru was told by a leading sport marketing specialist. We saw a professional promotion of a product with bright package and content, with well-thought ideology and well-made communication system. There is a small nuance though. The product doesn’t exist. The agitational campaign was successful also within the country; according to some polls, more than 80 percent of Sochi citizens supported the idea of hosting the Olympict in their city. But all this was before the voting in the IOC and before the preparations began.
Two months have come, but there is still no promotion. Bright package remained only bright package. But an outrageous law that allows dispossessing of private houses has been already introduced in the State Duma. Acres necessary for federal needs will be expropriated in exchange for money compensation. The owner of the land can’t challenge the fact of expropriation in a court but only complain about the sum of the compensation.
Before the Olympic boom there was quite a strange order of building in Sochi. A builder purchased the land, built on it and only then legalized the building up though the court and received all needed documents. It concerned both private houses and hotels and apartment blocks. All the process usually lasted for a half a year.
But the situation with already built objects is still unclear. Moscow construction firm “Decra” built four years ago two high-rise apartment blocks in the centre of the city. Flats are sold out, but houses are not let yet. People bought flats but did not receive any document. The local TV shows an advertising: a voice of a little girl and child’s pictures on the background: “our town is so pretty! It has won the Olympics and now becomes even more beautiful. Many new houses will be built”. One of the citizens told that his little son had seen the advertising and said: “You’re glad for nothing. Your house will be demolished and on the place of it something will be built.”
From the Airview
Jacques Rogge promised to helicopter all over the Olympic buildings. What he will see he has already seen in the eyes of Vladimir Putin. He said that the Russian government was rendering all necessary support for Olympics preparations, and added that he believed Russia would hold the games to a high standard. Putin is also looking in the future with optimism. “I have ordered the Russian government and president's administration to involve the Sochi and Krasnodar region administration into preparation of the documents which will consider the interests of the people living in Sochi and nearby area." The reporter of Polit.ru asked “people living in Sochi” on their attitude to the project.
One Sochi journalist who asked not to be named said: “Projects are not started up yet. At the moment in the “Rodina” pension different meetings and briefings are held. They gather upper businessmen, directors of factories and plants and decide how to provide all these buildings for”. Citizens consider that their city can’t support so many objects and that there will be serious problems, emergency jobs and deadline failures. “Only new airport is really ready. But it was opened only once, for the IOC and then was closed. All use an old one”, adds our companion.
The next problem is ecology. “Questions of the environmental protection having been discussed are now removed from the agenda. From the ecological point of view our bid is a thoroughly worked out product. It will cause not a deterioration, but quite in opposite, an improvement of the ecological situation in the city of Sochi”, announced in Jule the vice-premier Alexander Zhukov. But there are still skeptics who worry for the future of the Caucasian State Nature Biosphere Reserve situated in the vicinity of Sochi. “There is no doubt that numerous buildings will damage the nature of the region, that is obvious. Last time it happened after the road to Krasnaya Polyana was built. The last tunnel was let in the last year; and as soon as the road has been ready, the wind rose has changed. Local hang-gliders know that well. Now they jump from other side of the Aibga mountain, since otherwise a wind can throw them on rocks”, told our source.
The first impression is that the city is in the grip of an Olympic rush. Inscriptions “Sochi 2014” are everywhere, souvenirs of the Olympic Sochi are sold far and wide, each event in the city is served up with Olympic dressing. Maybe just this “souvenir variant” prepossessed the International Olympic Committee. But maybe the point is in the personal persuasion ability of Vladimir Putin who has managed to a carry out a seance of group therapy in Guatemala. In that case the Olympics 2014 are really impossible.