mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Putin's Flickering Flame


Vladimir Putin’s moment to dazzle on the world stage is being marred by an uncooperative Olympic torch, which just won’t stay lit across an epic 123-day, 40,000 mile relay across Russia. And the pesky torch didn’t go out just once, but twice.

The torchbearer, accompanied by a police car, an SUV, a small van and several volunteer marshals, stopped. A volunteer rushed up to him with another torch. A third arrived holding what might have been a small lantern—it was difficult to see.

The seconds dragged by. Dark clouds pressed down from above with seeming displeasure. The spectators could be heard. “It’s sad.” They chuckled uneasily. “Is Gazprom sponsoring this?”

(No, in fact Gazprom is sponsoring this.)

An Olympics in Russia: what could possibly go wrong?

[Photo courtesy Getty Images.]

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