Leon Aron considers the challenges facing Sochi:
Putin’s expectations for a triumph may run into a stone wall of reality. Many are bracing for a disruption, even disaster. The Sochi games will be the first Winter Olympiad held in the subtropics and not unrelatedly, the gap between what has been needed by way of infrastructure and what was already available had never been as deep and wide. It is also beset with protest; it’s the first Olympics to be held in an area of mass expulsion of an indigenous people, whose descendants accuse Russia of genocide. Perhaps most hazardously of all, it is the first (and almost certainly the last) Olympiad to be held within a few hundred miles of a low-intensity but deadly jihad. Indeed, this is without a doubt the most precarious Olympiad ever attempted, for reasons of geography, climate and infrastructure—but also for the way the regime has chosen to address these challenges. Will Putin’s triumphalist narrative prevail? Maybe.