Russia's business powers footing half the bill for expensive Sochi Games
TribLIVE Sports Videos
SOCHI, Russia — The mountains of Sochi are now home to Potanin's slope, Gazprom's gondola lift and Sberbank's ski jump. The nicknames used by locals and an army of construction workers leave no doubt about who is paying for the 2014 Winter Games: Russia's business powerhouses.
Other countries that have hosted the Olympics have overwhelmingly used public funds to pay for the construction of needed venues and new infrastructure.
The Russian government, however, has gotten state-controlled companies and tycoons to foot more than half of the bill, which now stands at $51 billion and makes the 2014 Winter Games by far the most expensive Olympics in history. In contrast, the much-larger 2012 Summer Olympics in London cost about $14.3 billion.
For President Vladimir Putin, the games have been a matter of pride. He has entrusted the country's top businessmen with Sochi's key projects. He is spending increasing amounts of time in the southern Russian city hosting world leaders at his luxurious presidential palace.
Mikhail Kasyanov, a former prime minister under Putin, described the tycoons' participation as a sort of tax imposed by the president.
“If you want to carry on doing business in Russia, here's the tax you need to pay — the kind of a tax that he wants you to pay,” Kasyanov, now an opposition leader, told the Associated Press.
This is particularly true of those who made their fortunes in the rags-to-riches privatizations after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. For others who have grown fabulously wealthy since Putin came to power in 2000, the 2014 Olympics have been a chance to reap the profits through lucrative state contracts.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers’ Roethlisberger remains in concussion protocol
- Jury acquits defendant in Mt. Oliver murder case
- Downtown barbershop target of racial-slur graffiti
- Agreement on Scaife personal information clears way for will dispute to proceed
- Council votes to ban tobacco use in Pittsburgh parks
- Authorities recover rifle used to kill Westmoreland police officer
- Penguins’ reshuffled top line of Crosby, Dupuis, Kunitz looks familiar
- Driver fined almost $700 in fatal Apollo pedestrian accident
- Shell closing Franklin Park office next year
- Founder of Z&M Cycle Sales in Hempfield killed in Florida motorcycle crash
- Pitt’s Whitehead, Ollison grab ACC rookie of the year awards