In 2007, when the IOC selected Sochi for the 2014 Olympic Games (hence Sochi 2014), no doubt Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin was viewed as a champion to sport in Russia. The former KGB star did in fact do much to bring the Olympics to Sochi.
As the Sochi 2014 games approach nobody can ignore the fact that Vladimir Putin has been criticized over the past months for using them as a platform to improve Russia’s image from a human rights perspective.
Regardless of the goodwill Putin is displaying these days be releasing Canadian Greenpeace activists Alexandre Paul of Montreal and Paul Ruzycki of Port Colborne, Ontario, and Pussy Riot members, we are also hearing more about security concerns raised by recent terrorist attacks in Volgograd.
With Putin assuring everyone there are 40,000 security forces and that the venues are ready (he did fire staff because of delays), not everyone is convinced that Putin is sincere. As Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova said, “I’m calling for a boycott of the Olympic Games. What is happening today — releasing people just a few months before their term expires — is a cosmetic measure.”
To compound things, Russia has a strong stance on LGBT rights further creating controversy to the cost overrun games, which have yet to begin.