At the end of last week, the entire world watched the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. More than 3 billion people watched this event on television. Most skeptics who doubted the success of the Olympic Games, became silent and along with the usual audience began to follow the course of the games.
However, the western editions were not long under the impression of the fascinating performance and again took up their favourite occupation – finding shortcomings in the organization of the Olympic Games. Literally the next day after the ceremony the media began without grounds spread information criticizing the everyday life of athletes. Since February 9, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, has dispelled the rumors of alleged spying after the guests of the Olympic hotels, the reason for which was photofixation of leakages by operating services, as well as reports on video surveillance in hotel rooms and bathrooms. “This story is definitely made-up to try again to discredit these Games,” said Deputy Prime Minister.
The most sarcastic publications aimed against Russia was made by the FAZ edition, according to which the opening ceremony resembled the “XX Congress of the CPSU under LSD.” The newspaper editors did not like the fact that Russia did not show a critical review of its history. British commentators, in turn, compared the opening of the Games with the Olympics in London, adding that they turned out there “much more interesting and fun”. The American press regretted that the ceremony did without Pussy Riot’s performance. The Philadelphia Inquirer calls this group one of the most famous in Russia.
On February 9, at a press conference, Vice-President of the Sochi-2014 Organizing Committee Alexander Kosterin had to explain himself regarding the occupancy of stands during the first days of the Olympics. Sports commentator Georgy Cherdantsev covering the Olympics for the NTV channel emotionally announced the half-empty stands, calling the situation a ‘disgrace’ and there were statements in the Western media about long queues at ticket offices. According to the organizers, on the first day the Olympic facilities in Sochi were loaded to 90%.
The Russian opposition politicians can’t wait to put a word. On February 10, former mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, in an interview to the BBC Russian service negatively characterized the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Sochi, criticizing its ideological component, and accused the organizing committee of crazy spending the funds. Meanwhile, the official estimates are that 214 billion rubles were spent on the Olympics, and from the budget a total of 99 billion were allocated at that. Whereas, according to ‘honest and independent’ data of Alexei Navalny's Anti-Corruption Fund, Russia has spent on the Olympics 1.5 trillion. rubles, which sounds, put it mildly, incredibly. However, this figure includes the costs of development of the region in whole: roads, bridges, railroad bed, airports, etc.
Finally, the question about the oppression of sexual minorities won the attention of Western journalists. La Stampa surprised, there were no scandals related therewith. It is noteworthy that the co-owner of the Lighthouse gay club in Sochi, Andrew Tanichev said that this bar was crowded by foreign correspondents dreaming to photograph the local gays’ life after the adoption in Russia of the law prohibiting propaganda of homosexuality. The club leaders during last month had to give more than 200 interviews on the subject. “Most correspondents were from the U.S., but the record was set by BBC - its journalists visited the club four times,” said the club manager. Tanichev also noted that in Sochi there were no reprisals against representatives of different sexual orientation, and the new law does not threaten athletes and fans.