mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Sochi Olympics May Break World Records for Corruption


A pair of Russian opposition leaders is alleging that Kremlin cronies pocketed more than $30 billion in funds earmarked for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. This is hardly the first report of corruption related to the games, but these latest numbers, if true, are staggering.

“The expenses for the Winter Olympics in Sochi turned out to be more than all expenses for all the sports structures at the previous 21 Winter Olympics put together,” the report says.

The games are expected to cost well over $50 billion, more than four times the original $12 billion budget set aside by Vladimir Putin in 2007. Putin sacked the official in charge of preparations back in February. That official then fled Russia and claims to have been poisoned.

On top of this, of course, there are the usual but non-trivial questions about the wisdom of holding the Olympic Games on the edge of Russia’s historically unstable Caucasus region. With simmering conflicts and a re-emerging terrorist threat in the region, record-breaking corruption may be be the least of the games’ problems.

[Olympic rings and Russian banknotes images courtesy of Shutterstock]

Features Icon
show comments
  • Lyle7

    Having Qatar host the World Cup in several years may turn out to be a really bad decision too. Who knows what will be going on in Qatar by the time of the World Cup? Not to mention it is going to be some kind of hot if they play it in the summer.

  • USNK2

    Tsarist Russia made the Caucausus ‘unstable’, and then Stalin made it “simmer”.
    Sochi2014 stomps on the 150th anniversary of the Tsarist genocide, and expulsion of the Circassian survivors from the shores of Sochi.
    Because the Circassian diaspora is 1) loyal to their nation of residence, and 2) committed to non-violence through, Sochi2014 is already a tragic insult to any of the ideals of the Olympic Games as long as Putin’s Russia fails to acknowledge the Tsarist genocide of 1864.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service