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The Winter Games of Sóchi and geopolitics
Joint Communiqué Brazil – Jamaica

Sochi, a Russian bet and an example for Brazil

Sochi, a Russian bet and an example for Brazil

Marcelo Rech

During six years, Russia raised a whole city in the Imereti Valley to carry out the most compact and technically more equipped and innovatory Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. It was six years full of work that will be put on trial from February 7.

When Russia asked, in 2006, to be the host of the Games, Sochi practically did not exist as a sports hub. It was necessary to build the whole infrastructure of roads and airport, besides the totality of the sporting installations.

All the stadiums that will receive the competitions were already tested in international events. In last year´s October, the first train traveled between Adler and Krasnaya Polyana. The president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, visited the places of competitions last November and left impressed.

In 2006, few believed that Russia could build in so little time 364 installations. Specialists who analyzed the number of tunnels for the railroad and road transports in the mountains with more than 20 km of extension, thought that impossible.

However, everything is ready.

Just like Brazil as the host of FIFA World Cup, there are many versions on the money spent for the realization of the Winter Olympic Games. Here and there, critics abound to say that it is about a useless expense that won´t pay off.

However, differently from here, in Russia, the works didn´t stay only on the paper and the population of Sochi has already its legate. Works of infrastructure of water treatment, engineering and energy, roads and modern railroads, all that already exists will remain after the Games.

Besides, the sporting installations won´t also be turned into white elephants. In Russia, there is demand and those installations will be used during every day of the year. The Russians even thought about the future and the sporting installations will be used in the preparation of new athletes for the future, something that is missing here.

Even with the heavy cost of the works, the children and the young will have conditions of practicing sports and the population in general will have more quality of life. Here, this mantra is used to justify overrated works that, in practice, stay on the paper even when the bulky resources are employed.

Russians also linked the costs of the works to quotas of sponsorship, lotteries and sales of admission tickets, besides transfers of the IOC itself. Meanwhile, the mascot of the World Cup this year in Brazil will come from China with no profit for our economy or for the workers.

Not at random, dozens of international experts affirm that Sochi 2014 has everything to be between the best Winter Games ever.

Also for comparison with the World Cup in Brazil, the teams will play in Rio, São Paulo, Recife and Manaus, covering continental distances and dealing with the absurd change of climates. All that to attend the present political interests.

Meanwhile, in Sochi, nobody will spend more than 40 minutes to move from a place to another of the competition. Ok, it´s two separate competitions that don´t have any similarity and couldn´t be compared with each other.

The Olympic Games are carried out one city only, while FIFA World Cup, in theory, is carried out in a entire country, in such a way that all the regions are contemplated and benefited with investments in their infrastructures and works and obtain subsequent return.

However, the comparison here doesn´t concern the competitions, but the organization of both events in political, economical and logistical terms. In this sense, we are, indeed, “skating”.

Also, all the sporting installations will take into account the special needs of the audience and no further adaptation will have to be done for the Paralympic Games.

In technological terms, the whole communications infrastructure is equally ready and tested and each spectator will have to register to be able to buy tickets, what reinforces the security in the places of the events.

The organizers of the Games didn´t ignore the environmental peculiarities of Sochi, once the city is located between the Caucasus Biosphere Reserve and the expanded National Park.

Russia decided to reforest the areas degraded by the works before the beginning of the Games, something that will be evident to those who attend the event. It would be interesting if the organizers of the World Cup and of the Olympic Games of 2016 (in Rio) bothered to know these actions in loco.

Marcelo Rech is a journalist, specialist in International Relations; Strategies and Policies of Defense; Terrorism and Counterinsurgency; Human Rights in the Armed Conflicts; and director of the Instituto InfoRel de Relações Internacionais e Defesa. E-mail:

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