Recently all over the internet, as well as on TV and the papers, the Sochi Olympic wintergames are - sadly enough again - the subject of political reviews. With this small article I would like to emphasise not to let yourself be mislead by the medieval statements of Putin's regime and keep being aware that Russia had millions of hospital people that will invite you in such heartwarming way, that you are in for a unforgetable journey. The WInter Olympics will be a feast, despite the enormous amounts of money that ended up in the wrong hands through corruption and yes, homofobia is something that Putin's propaganda forces are spreading around the less intelligent of the Russians, but ... please think twice in boycotting the Winter Games or not wanting to visit this beautiful area deep down South in Russia. It will send the wrong message, as most Russians would immediately send Putin home, if there would be a stable successor to his "thrown". Again, most Russians will invite you with open arms and overwhelm you with guidance, help and even throw in the usual hospitality of a extravagant dinner at their homes.
As far as for visitors that are going to Sochi, remember to go to the beaches and maybe even take a dive into the Black Sea, while skiing, scating, bobsleighing and other winter sports are taking place just around the corner. This is the unique thing of Sochi ... a microclimate with all winter facilities in the mountains (especially around Krasnaya Polana), while the sea is (for the more sportive swimmer) still warm enough to have a wonderful swim under the winter's sun. Have fun!
One of the most awkward things I see in Sochi in multiple way that I already discovered it in other Russian towns and cities, is the spending of government money. These fundings (always too low as the tax percentage in Russia is on average much to low and doesn;t reckon with height of income) should be for the people. Taking care of their living environment and benefits that help them through difficult times. Still, city administrations spend outrageous amounts of money in status objects, such as fountains, large special buildings and monuments. Only little sponsorship is raised to provide money from the business world (that has more then enough!). Most remarkable is yet the fireworks that are provided by the city on holidays and celebrations. Millions of roubles are literally blown sky high!
It's amazing that even here, in this climatological paradise, this "Saint Tropez" of Russia, almost nothing is truely clean. Even in the centre of Central Sochi streets definately can be cheered up by more flowers and at least a more often cleaning job. The more one goes to the outskirts, the more surprised one will be. While in the real Saint Tropez the streets will stay clean, yet the houses will become bigger and more luxereous, here in Sochi the opposit happens. The same enormous concrete blocks provide appartments for the less fortunate and the streets are - like in every other town and city - filled with garbage and left behinds of the people. I hope a certain awareness about "how it also could be" will soon reach the Russian mind and a more clean Russian suburb will appear (and I am not talking about the compounds of "new Russians" or other closed town parts.