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Sochi Lockdown Raises Fear of an Attack Elsewhere

Published: February 4, 2014 (Issue # 1795)



  • Security officers sit in the back of a truck outside the Fisht Olympic Stadium as part of the 40,000-personnel team deployed from around Russia to secure Sochi.
    Photo: David J. Phillip / AP

Amid unprecedented security measures by the authorities to secure Sochi for the Winter Olympics, observers have expressed concerns that other cities in Russia have been left unprotected, with law enforcement personnel and technical equipment needed to prevent terrorist attacks having been concentrated in the Olympic capital.

Some Russian regions, including Moscow, have announced that security measures will be intensified until the end of the Games on Feb. 23, and that particular attention will be paid to the security of airports and railway stations to catch potential terrorists who may be in transit or are targeting busy transportation hubs.

Related: Sochi Chief: City is World's 'Most Secure Venue'

The U.S., which has offered Russia assistance in securing the Games by sending FBI agents to Sochi and Moscow, as well as fighter jets and warships to the Black Sea, also said that a key concern was the possibility of a terrorist targeting locations outside the main event areas.

"The biggest issue from my perspective is not the Games themselves, the venues themselves," U.S. National Counterterrorism Center director Matthew Olsen told the Senate Intelligence Committee last week. "There is extensive security at those locations — the sites of the events. The greater threat is to softer targets in the greater Sochi area, in the outskirts beyond Sochi, where there is a substantial potential for a terrorist attack."

President Vladimir Putin has said security will be guaranteed in Sochi, with about 40,000 personnel employed in the effort, but he has not specifically addressed concerns about other potential targets.

Related: VIDEO: Medvedev Takes to CNN to Reassure Sochi Security Fears

But other targets appear to be more vulnerable. In late December, two terrorist bombers blew themselves up in separate attacks in Volgograd, leaving 34 people dead.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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