Letter of Intent

292 WordsFeb 4, 20142 Pages
With the vast sum Putin invested in the games, he has turned the once-sleepy resort into a kind of Disneyland of phantasmagorical structures — new highways, sweeping overpasses and top-notch sports venues. Winding roads and rail lines were cut upward into the mountains to newly built Alpine facilities. While the massive project doesn’t represent a do-or-die moment for Russia, the most expensive Olympics in history — with billions of dollars reportedly lost to graft — will reverberate through the economy and Kremlin politics. Putin’s third term as president will end in 2018. What’s more, the games are being shunned by President Barack Obama and key European leaders. The American, in an open protest of new Russian anti-gay laws, dispatched an official U.S. delegation made up of three openly gay athletic greats — former tennis star Billie Jean King, 2006 Olympic hockey medallist Caitlin Cahow and figure skating wizard Brian Boitano. Former Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano leads the delegation. Top officials from Olympic heavyweights like France and Germany also won’t be in Sochi. Same for Britain. The paucity of national leaders of major world powers leaves Putin with a schedule of meetings that will begin Thursday with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Chinese President Xi Jinping. In the following days he will sit down with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Japanese leader Shinzo Abe. No Western-aimed diplomacy is scheduled. While Putin stepped in in Syria to convince leader Bashar al-Assad to turn over his chemical weapons, thus saving Obama from having to initiate airstrikes, the White House remains angry that Russia have given asylum to Edward Snowden, the contract worker who has leaked volumes of secrets about U.S. intelligence-gathering

More about Letter of Intent

Open Document