Controversy, corruption claims surround Sochi Winter Olympics

Sochi, Russia, photo courtesy of Powder magazine/Christian Pondella
Sochi, Russia, photo courtesy of Powder magazine/Christian Pondella

Move over, gay-rights hot topic. The real controversy surrounding the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, is actually nothing new—it’s good, old-fashioned government corruption.

As Mitchell Scott discovers in “Red Pow,” a lengthy feature in Powder magazine’s new October issue, transforming a four-chair hill into an Olympic megalopolis could have been an economic boom for many countries, but in Russia it appears to instead be lining the pockets of government insiders.

While Russian President Vladimir Putin persists with his “bigger is better” propaganda (the 40,000-mile torch relay is the longest in Olympic history), critics claim that more than half of the $50 billion budget (the most expensive in Olympic history) has been spent on kickbacks and embezzlement. And while the truth may be out there, finding it can prove just as hard as the search for space aliens.

While this news isn’t all that shocking to anyone familiar with Russia’s political history, what does—and should—concern Olympians is the presumed cut corners that are a side effect of ridiculous construction deadlines coupled with the threat of outlandishly steep fines.

So, the question remains: will all the development pay off for Russia? Will tourists flock there after the games? Will Putin pose topless on top of Rosa Khutor? Stay tuned. And to get the full story, purchase Powder magazine’s October issue by clicking here.