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Maksim Fyodorov, editor-in-chief of the Publishing House MediaYug  
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Reloading. Political sport projects Moscow1980 and Sochi2014 have a lot in common

1 (2008)
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To host such greatest sport event as the Olympic Games was a dream of the Soviet Party’s gerontocracy since late 1960s. Sport was considered to be the second most important thing, but not the third — the government planned a brilliant victory at the Games. The result was meant to show to the whole world who was in charge. We can see something similar to that today as well. Reviving from ashes ambitions of Russian Superpower need to be supported not only by modernization of the Armed Forced, but by a chance to organize and host the sport competition of a highest level without any issues.

Not for the private sake

The financialbackground of the superprojects «Moscow–1980» and «Sochi–2014» are also extremely similar. At the beginning of 1970s the USSR began developing of the Siberian carbohydrates in Smotlor (14 billion barrels). This is when Soviet Union was «bathing in gold», because the price on oil had jumped to the moon: from 1970 to 1980 they increased by 1300%. Substantial part of that money was used for the Olympics. Probably, we will never be able to find out the exact sums. According to various sources, the Olympic Game of 80s cost USSR 0.1% of the country’s annual budget plus 10% of Moscow’s budget, which for that year was about 302.7 billion rubles.

In the end, it is quite easy to calculate the cost in our question: a little more than 300 million rubles or 500 million dollars (according to some other, more pessimistic, sources — 2–3 billion dollars). Compare, the Winter Olympic Games of 1980 which were held in the same year in Lake Placid cost USA 363 million dollars, and the Summer Games in Los Angels—1.1 billion dollars. If we can trust the preliminary calculations made by the Russian Olympic Committee, Sochi-2014 will cost the country about 313 billion rubles (13 billion dollars) — basically, the budget profit for two months.

Starting form zero

The circumstances surrounding the construction of the Olympic objects are somewhat similar as well. The USSR neither had an experience in designing and the constructing, which would meet the international standards nor did it have any large-scaled structures. Huge sport complex «Olympiysky» was practically built from «zero», as well as rowing channel and bicycle track in Krylatsky, sport complex for riding in Bitz, the Olympic village, «Kosmos» hotel. The Stadium in Luzsniki, the television center «Ostankino», the airport «Sheremetievo-2» had to undergo major renovations.

The difference between future Winter Olympic Games of 2014 and the Olympics of 80s is that almost everything has to be built from «zero». Buildings will be concentrated in two major areas. The first one, Imirtinskaya valley, will have Major and Minor Ice Skating Arenas (for 12 thousand seats), palaces for curling, figure skating and short-track, the Olympic Stadium (for 40 thousand seats) and the Olympic village. The second position, «Krasnaya Polyana» will have tracks for bob-slay, complexes for downhill skiing and jumping, tracks for «smooth» skies and biathlon. Transportation network and «light» metro will connect both areas. The airport in Adler will undergo major reconstruction. The network of exclusive hotels will be built in surrounding areas.

Easy understanding

The information system of Moscow metro had to be updated for the Olympic Games of 1980. They had mounted new light emitting displays, sings in both Russian and English languages. There was a central information desk on the station «Revolution Square», all the other stations had stands with the information on the name of the station, which was written with Latin letters, and metro rules in Russian and English. By dialing «21» one could get an answer in Russian language, «22» — in English, «23» — in French, «24» — in German and «25» — in Spanish.

For the Olympic Games of 2014, the Department of Internal Affairs printed a trial version of a special dictionary for the police «Olympic Sochi». It has about 300 phrases specific to the police job in Russian, English, French and German, and also a few columns in Spanish. In addition, there are English courses for servers, restaurant managers, cafeterias, shops, hotels, pharmacies, airport personnel and many others. The road signs in English have been already put up.

Nobody will sneak in

Providing the security issues during the competitions are the strong features for both the USSR and Russia, because of the well-developed defense and law enforcement agencies. The only difference is that in 1980 they were preparing to fight with spies and traitors, and in 2014 — with terrorism. KGB and Yuri Andropov together with General-colonel Victor Chebrikov were personally responsible for the security of the Olympic Games of 1980. He created and became the head of the 11th section of 5th KGB department, which duty was to fight with «troublemaking elements». There were restrictions on traveling to Moscow, and for the people who lived in Moscow there were restrictions concerning going to children summer camps, construction team camps, and some other recreational areas. Those who had some criminal past or suspected of anti-Soviet mood were sent as far as 100 kilometers away — not only prostitutes or addicts, but those whose point of view was different from that of the Soviet Party’s.

It is understandable, that the security system of the future Sochi Games is a big secret, hidden behind the seven seals. But it is already known, that the decision was made to relocate and place few sniper battalions in the «hot» areas, such as Karachaevo-Cherkesia and Dagestan. The Department of Drug Traffic Control of Sochi increased the number of it staff. Everybody wants to hope, that the similarities of the competitions, which have a third of a century between them, will stop at that point. Already this year we have been reminded, what is a well planned «catastrophic boycott» of the Olympic Game. We have experienced it in 1980, and four years later the USA got the «asymmetrical answer» — silliness, which is never going to be forgiven by Zeus, in whose name the Games were organized, and the athletes, who were left without the Olympics. And somehow, it would be better to compare not the sabotaging skills of superpowers, but the achievements of their citizens on sport track and in the sphere of service and development.