Tuesday, July 21, 2015

As Olympic Infrastructure Falls Apart, Sochi Residents Erect Monument to Russian Corruption

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 21 – If Russians knew how much of the 50 billion US dollars Vladimir Putin wasted in Sochi, they wouldn’t envy the city’s residents, Aleksandr Valov says, given that much of what was built for the games was built so poorly that a little more than a year later it is already falling apart (blogsochi.ru/content/olimpiiskaya-infrastruktura-uzhe-razvalivaetsya).

            But now more Russians and others may find out thanks to the efforts of a group of local people who have put up a monument to corruption on the site of a house that was unnecessarily torn down by court order at the insistence of someone who had come to Sochi only to help prepare the games (kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/265863/).

            About 30 Sochi residents attended the opening of the monument yesterday, Valery Zhuravlyev of “Kavkaz-Uzel” reports, noting that the idea of creating such a monument “was born after the tearing down of the only residence in which two elderly people had lived approximately 30 years.”

            The fix was clearly in when their new neighbor objected to their construction: they lost in the court of first instance and on appeal, and they faced the combined efforts of those engaged in Olympic construction and the city authorities. Not surprisingly, these people felt they could ignore the interests and needs of two longtime residents who had restored the house and grounds.

            After the arriviste won his case, he soon departed from Sochi, allowing his own lot to become overgrown with weeds and the couple without a home.  They decided to erect a cross there devoted to the wonder-working icon of the Virgin Mary and built its foundations from stones they gathered from what had been their home.

            According to the “Kavkaz-uzel” journalist, the two said that “the stones symbolize the corrupt officials, while the cross is the symbol of the faith of people that corruption can be defeated.”  The husband said that “earlier I did not believe in God, but now I believe. This icon gives me strength … and we pray that this government won’t survive the elections.”

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