Sochi, Russia, is a kind of an odd choice to host the 2014 Winter Olympics. To start, it rarely falls below freezing in the winter; the average low in January is only 38, the daily mean temperature is 42. The nearest skiable terrain is 37 miles away in the mountains and, according to former deputy prime minister and opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, locals "prefer football, and volleyball and swimming."
Nemtsov recently gave an interview to Foreign Policy in which he criticized the Sochi games as "an economic and ecological catastrophe" and said that a road being built to connect Sochi with the ski hills will cut through ecologically sensitive lands and will cost $130 million per kilometer (it's hard to see how this can be true given that it's 60 kilometers between Sochi and the ski hills; that'd be over $7 billion just spent on the road alone). The roads WILL be cutting through lands designated as national parks and protected by UNESCO.
Greenpeace Russia's Mikhail Kreindlin said the construction of the Olympic venues would destroy unique forests and animals and the WWF wrote a letter to Vladimir Putin warning much of the same.
The Russia government has countered that they're going to respect the environment during construction and has pledged a $100 million investment into the Sochi environment.
We'll see how it all turns out. In general the Olympics are an incredible wasteful event, and Putin pledged at least $14 billion for the Games — in Russia they might need that much to squeeze through all the corruption and graft.
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