Sochi Olympic Winter Games 2014 ….. Clearly controversial in many ways!


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~~February 6, 2014~~

The Olympic Park that officially opened its doors today is welcoming the first visitors! Many of them are heading to the Iceberg Arena tonight to see the team men and pairs short program competitions!

The 2014 Winter Olympics, officially the XXII Olympic Winter Games, or the 22nd Winter Olympics, is a major international multi-sport event being held in SochiRussia. Although officially running from 7 February to 23 February 2014, selected figure skating, skiing, and snowboard competitions began on the eve of the Opening Ceremony, 6 February 2014. Both the Olympics and 2014 Winter Paralympics are being organized by the Sochi Organizing Committee (SOC). Sochi was selected as the host city in July 2007, during the 119th IOC Session held in Guatemala City. The Sochi Olympics will be the first Olympics in the Russian Federation since the breakup of the USSR in 1991.

The USSR was the host nation for the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.

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98 events in 15 winter sport disciplines will be held throughout the Games. A number of new competitions — a total of twelve accounting for gender — will be held during the Games, including biathlon mixed relay, women’s ski jumping, mixed-team figure skating, mixed-team lugehalf-pipe skiing, ski and snowboard slopestyle, and snowboard parallel slalom. The events will be held around two clusters of new venues; an Olympic Park was constructed in Sochi’s Imeretinsky Valley on the coast of the Black Sea, with Fisht Olympic Stadium and the Games’ indoor venues located within walking distance, and snow events will be held in the resort settlement of Krasnaya Polyana.

In preparation for the games, organizers focused on modernizing the telecommunicationselectric power, and transportation infrastructures of the region. While originally budgeted at US$12 billion, various factors caused the budget to expand to over US$51 billion, surpassing the estimated $44 billion cost of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing as the most expensive Olympics in history.

The lead-up to the 2014 Winter Olympics was marked by several major controversies, including allegations of corruption leading to the aforementioned cost overruns, concerns for the safety and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) athletes and supporters during the Games due to the country’s recent ban on the promotion of homosexuality and other “non-traditional sexual relations” to minors (which has led to ongoing protests), and various security concerns over threats by jihadist groups tied to the insurgency in the North Caucasus.

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~~GALLERY SPEAKING FOR ITSELF~~

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Pre-Olympics

There have been controversies and concerns affecting the upcoming Winter Olympics. The major disputes are with Circassian nationalists, who demanded that the events be cancelled or moved unless Russia apologizes for the 19th-century deaths, which Circassians regard to be a genocide, environmental and economic issues, the safety and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) athletes, supporters and journalists.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden of the United States are not planning to attend the 2014 Winter Olympics, joining Canadian PM Stephen Harper, French President François Hollande and some other western leaders. Although they denied that their decision not to travel to Sochi was a political statement aimed against Russian policies, there is speculation it might be an symbolic boycott over Russia’s treatment of LGBT people. In a 2013 news story, the Financial Times reported, “… Sochi boycott, when no one boycotted the Beijing Olympics, could reinforce the Kremlin narrative that the West seeks constantly to undermine Russia.

Far from driving a wedge between Mr Putin and Russians, it might consolidate his support among the majority.” Putin later said homosexuals should feel welcome at the games.

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There have been protests of the laws for months since June 2013, and more are planned as part of the Games including athletes emphasizing Principle Six of the Olympic Charter which states:

“Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.”

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While most Olympic Games have high cost overruns, for these Games they are much higher than usual, with the costs being more than all the previous 21 Winter Olympics combined. Allison Stewart of the Saïd Business School at Oxford, notes that relations between the government and construction companies appear closer in Sochi than in other games. Oligarch Arkady Rotenberg has won contracts worth $7.4 billion.

According to an article in The Daily Telegraph, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, head of Saudi intelligence, allegedly confronted the Kremlin with a mix of inducements and threats in a bid to break the deadlock over Syria, including the security of the Winter Olympics in Sochi if there is no accord. He allegedly said “I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us”. 

Three suicide bombings in Volgograd, 700 kilometres from Sochi, one in October 2013 and the two others in December 2013, have raised additional international concerns about security during the Olympics. The IOC expressed sympathy for the victims and underlined that they trusted that Russia’s security arrangements for the Olympics would be adequate. Vilayat Dagestan then again threatened the games saying that Putin should expect a “present.”

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Full Photo/Graphic Credit: https://www.facebook.com/familiesofrainbows

Security

More than 40,000 law enforcement officials will be deployed in securing the event and Police at the games will be able to converse with non-Russian speaking spectators and other guests in three languages: English, French and German. Russian Ground Forces commander Colonel-General Vladimir Chirkin said Russian Armed Forces will help ensure security during the preparations for and throughout the games.

Presidential Decree signed by President Vladimir Putin, stipulates that all gatherings, protests, demonstrations, marches and pickets in Sochi and the surrounding area that are not part of the Olympics or Paralympics must obtain approval from the FSB (intelligence agency), police and local government. The restrictions will run from 7 January, a month before the Olympic opening ceremony, until 21 March, five days after the end of the Paralympics.

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Some estimated the decree could be used to bar protests over Russia’s controversial homosexual propaganda laws, which has already provoked widespread international criticism. There could also be campaigns by representatives of the Muslim Circassian people, who lived in the area where Sochi now stands until their homeland was occupied by Russia in the 19th century and the majority were either expelled or killed.

Restrictions on movement in and around Sochi will be introduced from 7 January through 21 March, with “controlled” and “forbidden” zones, dubbed the “ring of steel” by the press. The controlled zones cover all Olympic venues and infrastructure, including the coastal Olympic Park and the mountain cluster of skiing facilities, as well as all transport hubs.

The forbidden zones will include the border area separating Russia from neighboring Abkhazia, just a few kilometers east of Sochi, as well as the Sochi National Park, an environmentally protected area. The government has also tightened the mandatory registration system for Russian citizens visiting Sochi.

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~~IN THE MEANTIME, PRESSURE OF THE SPONSORS HAS BEEN CONSIDERABLE~~

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Full Photo/Graphic Credit: https://www.facebook.com/familiesofrainbows

Restrictions on movement in and around Sochi will be introduced from 7 January through 21 March, with “controlled” and “forbidden” zones, dubbed the “ring of steel” by the press. The controlled zones cover all Olympic venues and infrastructure, including the coastal Olympic Park and the mountain cluster of skiing facilities, as well as all transport hubs.

The forbidden zones will include the border area separating Russia from neighboring Abkhazia, just a few kilometers east of Sochi, as well as the Sochi National Park, an environmentally protected area. The government has also tightened the mandatory registration system for Russian citizens visiting Sochi.

Internal Troops of the Ministry of Interior will have 10,000-strong force to provide security at Sochi Olympics. In mid January, some 1,500 Siberian Regional Command troops were sent to a military town near Krasnaya Polyana. Their duties primarily involve prevention of unauthorized access to sports facilities, residential areas, thoroughfares and bridges. Some of the forces will keep public order along with the police.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Winter_Olympics

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Full Photo/Graphic Credit: https://www.facebook.com/familiesofrainbows

~~Related~~

https://www.facebook.com/boycottsochisponsors

https://www.facebook.com/sochi2014

https://hrexach.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/share-a-coke-promotion-oops-lets-pretend-you-didnt-just-try-that/

http://oblogdeeoblogda.me/2014/01/27/share-a-coke-with-gays/

http://oblogdeeoblogda.me/2014/01/11/u-s-state-department-warns-of-danger-to-gays-in-sochi-olympic-travel-advisory/

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~~Related~~

YOUNG AND GAY IN PUTIN’S RUSSIA

https://hrexach.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/being-gay-in-russia-this-is-not-right/

https://hrexach.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/young-and-gay-in-putins-russia-continuation/

https://hrexach.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/the-sochi-olympic-games-are-but-a-week-away/

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Full Photo/Graphic Credit: https://www.facebook.com/familiesofrainbows

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DO YOU PLAN TO WATCH THE 2014 WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES?

“Hunted”

This Dispatches documentary has unique access to vigilante gangs that target gay men and women in Russia. It depicts a country troubled by disturbing violence and distressing intimidation.

On the eve of the Sochi Winter Olympics, Russia is officially welcoming gay athletes and spectators. But in a country where it’s thought only 1% of gay people dare to live completely openly, it appears to be a hollow gesture.

This extraordinary Dispatches documentary has gained unique access to the vigilante gangs that target gay men and women. The film depicts a country troubled by disturbing violence and distressing intimidation.

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Hunted | Wednesday, 10pm | Channel 4

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Published on Jan 30, 2014

Wednesday | 10pm | Channel 4
http://www.channel4.com/programmes/di…
This Dispatches documentary has unique access to vigilante gangs that target gay men and women in Russia. It depicts a country troubled by disturbing violence and distressing intimidation.

Source/Full Article: http://theobamacrat.com/2014/02/05/you-plan-to-watch-the-2014-winter-olympics-watch-this-first-please-support-the-lgbtqa1-world-community/

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I posted this picture this morning as my cover photo. One of my Facebook friends made this comment:

“That’s a sad commentary for our USA athletes who have worked so hard & for so long. We support our Olympians – without politics. if you had a child in Sochi would you want him or her to be remembered with this epitaph?”

~~This was my answer~~

“Controversial and touchy subject! Where to start? I can’t support anything related to Sochi … I’m very much involved/educated about current situation that the LGBT community in Russia is going through. It’s a total violation of human rights. Being there, IMHO, condones this behavior against a part of their society.

To answer your question, if I had a child ….. she/he wouldn’t be in Sochi.”

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~~More related~~

http://oblogdeeoblogda.me/2013/08/07/boycott-sochi-games-and-stephen-frys-compelling-letter/

http://oblogdeeoblogda.me/2013/08/08/russia-silencing-activists-journalists-ahead-of-sochi-games/

http://oblogdeeoblogda.me/2013/08/27/lgbt-russian-leadership-and-the-voice-of-putin/

http://oblogdeeoblogda.me/2013/11/14/maxim-martsenkevich-tesak-gay-pin-up-of-the-week/

http://oblogdeeoblogda.me/2014/01/18/russian-neo-nazi-gay-basher-captured-in-cuba/

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Americans Cite Terrorism, Security, Not LGBT Treatment, As Greatest Sochi Concern

http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/americans-cite-terrorism-security-not-lgbt-treatment-as-greatest-sochi-concern/news/2014/02/06/82718#.UvPhVHQo59A

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Budweiser Pulls Out Of Sochi Olympics

~~Related~~

http://www.cospride.org/index.php/en/lgbt-a-f/article-archives/1088-budweiser-drops-winter-olympics-parties-in-sochi

http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/budweiser-pulls-out-of-sochi-olympics/news/2014/02/06/82779#.UvPhkXQo59A

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This is a topic that is very close to my heart and my soul.

I became aware of this situation when a very dear and reputable blogger started writing about Sochi. What is Sochi? I didn’t event know about the Olympic Games, didn’t know where Sochi was and then information started pouring in.

I didn’t even know that there was discontent with the location where the games were going to be held. Slowly, I started to search, to read, to become educated. I looked at and read many articles about this issue and related topics. 

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Being a proud member of the LGBT community, there is no way that I can condone these games being held in a country which has recently made into law the capacity to persecute, humiliate, brutalize, entrap, embarrass, assault and kill the members of the LGBT community there. There is plenty of documentation and evidence that this is happening.

I totally understand the effort, time, training that ALL of these athletes have invested to improve their ability to participate, compete and excel at the games. This could be the opportunity of their lifetime! They are contenders for the medals, they can bring glory to their families, their countries …. but at the expense of what?

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The comprehensive security measures noted above that have been taken is only the tip of the iceberg. There is unrest in that country.

~Totalitarian government~

~Discontent of the masses~

~Internal, historical disagreements~

~Persecution of minorities~

~Vigilante justice has been accepted as the government looks the other way~

~Uncontrolled abuse and violence~

~Rampant discrimination under the auspices of the government~

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The short clip “Hunted“, included above, is but a small view of what is rampantly going on in Russia.

“It depicts a country troubled by disturbing violence and distressing intimidation.”

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The games are starting today …. even as you read this, if you decided to read all and reach this part … the games may have already started.

In my humble opinion, all the controversy around them, take away from the beauty and the underlying meaning of these games. This saddens me because it shouldn’t be that way. These games are events that should bring people and nations together.

All are the same, all are equal … doesn’t matter the color of their skin, the religious beliefs or lack thereof … doesn’t matter the politics of the country they hail from. It should all be in good spirit of competition.

I don’t think this is going to happen at these events.

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Tell me …… what can one do? What can be done?”

I answer the question again …. if I had a child …. she/he wouldn’t be at SOCHI at all!!

We ALL are connected through HUMANITY!!

OlBoy

We ALL are ONE!!! 

ORing

5 thoughts on “Sochi Olympic Winter Games 2014 ….. Clearly controversial in many ways!

  1. Please consider sending/posting a message of support for those in SOCHI 2014.
    Please click on the link below or paste the URL into your browser to view the ART postcard.

    http://www.artpostcard.com/postcard/1016_733490/trial-run-message-from-stephen-mead.cfm

    http://postcardtoputin.weebly.com

    If you got to the weebly link you can find my shutterfly page and send in the tremendously powerful graphics you have posted here. I would not want to infringe on your copyrights. Thank you!

    Stephen

    Like

    • Hi there!! It took me a while to get to you. Sorry about that. I really appreciate your visit and your comments. I like your suggestion about sending/posting a message for the SOCHI 2014. The main pictures already have the copyright … Rainbow Families, Queer Nation, All Out, Human Rights Watch ….. I’m somewhat technologically handicapped. I found these only line and on the pages that I already mentioned.
      If you want to, go ahead and post them … that’s why I look for these to post.
      If you do so, let me know … I would like to see where they went and what they look like.
      Peace …. 🙂

      Like

      • Dr. Rex:   Thank you so much for taking the time to comment on MY comment regarding SOCHI.  Now that the games have passed, while unfortunately international laws against LGBT people remain prevalent, (Uganda, Nigeria, et. al.), I have re-vamped the page.  My appreciation in advance for you taking a look at it and perhaps re-posting an image of two…   Be well in all, Stephen   Tired of global abuses against LGBT people? Please consider sending/posting a postcard. http://www.artpostcard.com/postcard/1027_803245/postcard-for-humanity-message-from-stephen-mead.cfm Or feel free to right click on image(s) on this page, & choose “save as”.   Further details can still be found at: http://postcardtoputin.weebly.com/

        ________________________________

        Like

      • Thank YOU for being here, for coming back!! The international laws against the LGBT community are awful.
        The international community seems to not be doing enough!!
        Feel free to use any of the related material that you find in my blog.
        I would appreciate, if you do, that you link it to “It Is What It Is”.

        Hugs and peace!! Today and always!! 🙂

        Like

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