Via Mickey Kaus.
Sochi, Russia, will host the 2014 Winter Olympics, the IOC announced today. Apparently, Vladimir Putin going to Guatemala to convince IOC members made the difference. Maybe he threatened to have them poisoned if they didn’t vote his way.
Regardless of how it all went down, when Jacques Rogge announced that Sochi would host, the locals were happy.
Now it’s time to learn a little bit about Sochi, a place we’ll be seeing plenty of on the teevee seven years hence. According to Wikipedia, “Joseph Stalin had his favourite dacha built in the city,” which is a Black Sea coastal resort. “The resort has the warmest climate in Russia, averaging +7 °C (44.6 °F) in January and February,” the article adds. That sounds like it might pose a bit of a problem in terms of having sufficient snow and ice outdoors for the sports requiring that stuff, but I’m guessing the IOC thought that one through already.
Anyway, congrats to Sochi. More info here.
If it’s Wednesday, that means it’s time for a Nazi comparison. This one is courtesy of Vladimir Putin in his remarks at a ceremony commemorating the 62nd anniversary of the German defeat in World War II.
“We do not have the right to forget the causes of any war, which must be sought in the mistakes and errors of peacetime,” Mr. Putin said.
“Moreover, in our time, these threats are not diminishing,” he said. “They are only transforming, changing their appearance. In these new threats, as during the time of the Third Reich, are the same contempt for human life and the same claims of exceptionality and diktat in the world.”
Putin probably shouldn’t be throwing stones considering the glass house in which he lives. The confrontational tone is troubling too — Putin knows what kind of reaction he’ll get from saying this, which means he must want his strong antagonism toward the US to be known.
More interesting, perhaps, is the conflict over Estonia’s decision to move a monument to the Red Army. It’s unclear how best to honor the sacrifice of the 20+ million Soviets who gave their lives to defeat the Nazis without also glorifying the not-so-great government that gave them their orders to fight.
In an ironic twist for a man who tore up seven decades of Soviet rule, as Yeltsin was buried a military band played a few bars of the Soviet anthem: a tune he scrapped but which his successorrestored as Russia’s national anthem.