News / Europe

    Russia’s Winter Olympics to Break Spending Records

    Russia’s Winter Olympics to Break Records - for Spendingi
    X
    April 02, 2013 6:20 PM
    In 2007, when Sochi won the right to hold the 2014 Winter Olympics, people wondered if Russia's only subtropical city would build skating rinks and ski areas from scratch for the premiere sporting events. The city set out to prove that even in the south, they could have a Winter Olympics. But there is a price to pay. As VOA’s James Brooke reports, at $51 billion the Sochi Olympics will be the most expensive in the history of the Games.
    James Brooke
    It is the largest construction site in Europe: 100,000 men and 500 companies are working around the clock.

    They are building hotels, skating rinks and ski jumps for next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, on Russia's southern Black Sea coast.

    After Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that construction would meet the deadlines for the February Olympics, fireworks greeted the president’s progress report.

    Oleg Krachenko manages the Bolshoy Ice Dome, a completed rink, where President Putin launched the one year countdown on February 7.

    Standing in front of the smooth ice of the new hockey rink, he said,  “We want to show that even here, in the south of Russia, even in this southern city, you can have the Winter Olympics.”

    • A digital clock counts down the days to the February 7 opening of the Winter Olympics, Sochi, Russia, March 16, 2013. (V. Undritz/VOA) 
    • Construction continues on the 40,000 seat stadium that will be used for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Sochi Olympics, March 15, 2013. (V. Undritz/VOA) 
    • This speed skating rink will be used for the Olympic Games and then dismantled, Sochi, Russia, March 15, 2013. (V. Undritz/VOA) 
    • The Iceberg will host competitions of figure skating, a favorite sport of Russians, Sochi, Russia, March 15, 2013. (V. Undritz/VOA) 
    • The oval shaped “Bolshoy” Ice Dome will host hockey matches. After the games, it can be reconfigured for tennis, basketball and football, Sochi, Russia, March 15, 2013. (V. Undritz/VOA) 
    • Ice machines smooth the ice prior to a hockey practice inside the Ice Dome, Sochi, Russia, March 15, 2013. (V. Undritz/VOA) 
    • Red roofed housing for Olympic athletes rises between the Ice Dome and a new Radisson Blu hotel, Sochi, Russia, March 15, 2013. (V. Undritz/VOA) 
    • With 100,000 workers, Sochi has become the largest construction site in Europe, Sochi, Russia, March 15, 2013. (V. Undritz/VOA)
    • Subtropical plants acclimate in a nursery in preparation for massive landscaping planned for the months prior to the Olympics, Sochi, Russia, March 15, 2013. (V. Undritz/VOA) 
    • Hussein Karimovich is hoping to collect $6,500 in pay he says a Russian contractor owes him and his Uzbek team for working on the Olympic ski jump, Sochi, Russia, March 15, 2013. (V. Undritz/VOA)
    • Residents in the Kudepsta neighborhood maintain a protest camp across a stream from a site chosen for construction of the region’s largest power plant, Sochi, Russia, March 16, 2013. (V. Undritz/VOA) 
    • The Olympic ski jump rises from the mountain mists above Sochi, Russia, March 17, 2013. (V. Undritz/VOA) 



    But there is a price to pay. At $51 billion, the Sochi Olympics will be the most expensive in the history of the Games. They are running five times over the initial budget of six years ago.

    The Sochi Olympics will cost almost six times as much as the last Winter Olympics, in Vancouver.

    Vladimir Kimaev is a Sochi environmentalist. He said the Kremlin is wasting money on a prestige project that will last two weeks.

    “Is it normal for state money to be spent on facilities that will not be needed in the future,” he asked, speaking over the construction din in downtown Sochi. “New information says that the ski jump will be completely removed.”

    Kimaev and others say much of the $51 billion has disappeared as a result of corruption. Looking at the 48-kilometer road and rail link between skating rinks on the Black Sea and snow venues in the Caucasus Mountains, he said "it cost the Mars project about $2.5 billion to fly to Mars,” giving a high estimate to the cost of  the U.S. Mars Exploration Rover. “The road to Kransnaya Polyana costs from $7.5-10 billion.  So, actually it is like a road of gold,” he added.

    Semyon Simonov, a labor lawyer in Sochi, said many contractors have cheated Central Asian construction workers.

    “Very often, when employers hire foreign workers, they take their documents, supposedly to give them work permits, but in actuality they don’t process them,” said Simonov, who researched abuses for a report by Human Rights Watch. “And therefore these people are here illegally and can be sent away at any moment,” he added.

    In the report, Simonov cited dozens of cases of Olympic employers shortchanging immigrant workers.

    Hussein Karimovich says a Russian contractor owes him and his team $6,500 for working on the Olympic ski jump, Sochi, March 15, 2013. (V. Undritz - VOA)Hussein Karimovich says a Russian contractor owes him and his team $6,500 for working on the Olympic ski jump, Sochi, March 15, 2013. (V. Undritz - VOA)
    x
    Hussein Karimovich says a Russian contractor owes him and his team $6,500 for working on the Olympic ski jump, Sochi, March 15, 2013. (V. Undritz - VOA)
    Hussein Karimovich says a Russian contractor owes him and his team $6,500 for working on the Olympic ski jump, Sochi, March 15, 2013. (V. Undritz - VOA)
    One of them is Hussein Karimovich,  a construction worker from Uzbekistan.

    “Ten people would work during the day and 10 people would work at night,” said Karimovich.  “That’s how they organized it so the ski jump could be finished faster.”

    He said when the work was finished, the contractor disappeared, leaving $6,500 in unpaid wages.

    But with the one-year countdown now under way, the Kremlin is hoping that hoopla and excitement will carry the day in February, when Russia hosts its first Winter Olympic games.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora