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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

Thursday, Aug. 28


Learn more about the citys upcoming municipal elections during the presentation of the project Road Map for the Municipal Elections being presented this evening in the conference hall on the third floor of Biblioteka at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. Steve Kaddins, a coordinator for Beautiful St. Petersburg, which gives residents an online forum to lodge complaints about infrastructure problems in the city, will be on hand to answer any questions. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and is open to all.



Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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