By Samuel Richter
Russia, a mysterious and seemingly unstable country, will be hosting the Winter Olympics in the city of Sochi in the coming weeks.
While this will be a great opportunity for many to compete against the best athletes in the world, there are concerns for Russia’s political system and the security of those involved in the winter games.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has acknowledged the fact that the Games could potentially attract terrorist attacks.
A video has surfaced of two believed-to-be suicide bombers from an attack on another Russian city. The men stated in the video, “We’ve prepared a present for you and all tourists who’ll come over.” Adding, “If you will hold the Olympics, you’ll get a present from us for the Muslim blood that’s been spilled.”
How international relations will be affected by this matter is yet to be seen, but it is certain that all events at the main stadium and the surrounding area will be covered by multiple levels of security in order to prevent and immediately counteract any terrorists or other violence.
Putin has issued statements that over 40,000 police officers and law officials will be present at the winter games.
Another cause for concern is the backwards Russian attitude towards homosexuality. Gay athletes from around the world feel threatened by Russia’s policies.
Russia has recently passed legislation that makes it illegal to tell children about gay equality and gay rights, which has angered many U.S. officials and activists.
Putin has stated that the law was put into place in order to protect children from homosexual advances and was made for their safety.
Putin has also declared that he does not want homosexuals to feel unwelcome at the Olympic Games, just not to endorse publicly their sexuality and views. Not only is this a hypocritcal statement, it calls into the question the reason the city was chosen by the Olympic Committee to host the Games in the first place.
U.S. lawmakers have declared that the games are not safe, including Representative Mike Rodgers, from the Committee of Intelligence, stating that, “Their level of concern is great, but we don’t seem to be getting all of the information we need to protect our athletes in the Games.”
I think this needs to change, and it should change soon.
Whether or not the threats are real, these matters are serious and may need some extra security from international countries in order to assure the safety for the athletes, fans and tourists traveling to Sochi for Olympic events.