SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) – The main roads and boulevards of Sochi have been plastered over with Olympic Games posters, slogans in Cyrillic and billboards welcoming sports fans to the Russian Black Sea resort.
But for most visitors the real Sochi will be what they find when they travel off the beaten path of the Winter Olympics, which run from Feb 7-23, to soak up the sounds, flavors and even the waters of this Soviet-era spa city.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – An anti-corruption campaigner said on that Monday Russia was spending far more on the Winter Olympics than President Vladimir Putin has estimated and accused politicians and businessmen of profiteering.
Alexei Navalny, who led anti-Putin street protests in 2011-2012, published data culled from government budgets and construction companies on a website (sochi.fbk.info) that he said highlighted overspending and corruption.
MOSCOW, Jan 27 (Reuters) – A leading opponent of President Vladimir Putin criticised what he said was huge overspending on the Winter Olympics on Monday and accused Russian officials and businessmen of making big profits from the Games.
The report, culling information from government budgets and data from companies involved in construction for the Olympics, was the latest by the opposition to pour scorn on a project on which Putin has staked his personal and political prestige.
SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) – It may not come naturally to all Russians and, in the run-up to the Winter Olympics, Sochi hotel managers are getting crash courses in how to smile.
In line with President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to show Russia’s modern face at the $50-billion Sochi Games, an initiative has been launched to break down enduring stereotypes of Russians as cold, severe and unsmiling.
SOCHI, Russia, Jan 23 (Reuters) – It may not come naturally
to all Russians and, in the run-up to the Winter Olympics, Sochi
hotel managers are getting crash courses in how to smile.
In line with President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to show
Russia’s modern face at the $50-billion Sochi Games, an
initiative has been launched to break down enduring stereotypes
of Russians as cold, severe and unsmiling.
MOSCOW, Jan 19 (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin denied that any large-scale corruption surrounded the Sochi Winter Olympics and challenged those with allegations of misconduct to come forward with proof.
Western and Russian opposition critics have made allegations that large amounts of money have been stolen during construction for the 2014 Olympics in the Black Sea city, but have provided little concrete evidence.
MOSCOW/ISTANBUL (Reuters) – The Syrian government, preparing for peace talks with rebels next week, handed the Russian co-sponsors of the conference a proposal on Friday for a local ceasefire and an exchange of prisoners.
There was no immediate response from President Bashar al-Assad’s opponents, whose very attendance at the talks due to start on Wednesday in Switzerland remained in doubt – prompting a last-minute appeal to them from the United States.
SOCHI, Russia, Jan 17 (Reuters) – The first warning of the problems that eventually swept away Irina Vorochkova’s house near Russia’s Olympic city of Sochi came when the garden began shifting, then the ground slid away downhill towards a river.
As builders worked feverishly to get the Black Sea resort ready for winter games so closely tied to President Vladimir Putin’s legacy, they failed to notice the effects their work was having on the village below.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said on Friday he had handed Russia plans for a ceasefire with rebel forces in Syria’s biggest city, Aleppo, and was ready to exchange lists on a possible prisoner swap.
Washington and Moscow have been trying to negotiate some confidence-building measures between the warring sides and allow humanitarian aid to flow to areas worst hit in the nearly three-year-old civil war.
MOSCOW/BUDAPEST, Jan 14 (Reuters) – Russian nuclear power
company Rosatom will expand Hungary’s only nuclear power plant,
more than doubling its capacity in the biggest construction
project in Hungary’s post-Communist history, the two countries
agreed on Tuesday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he and visiting
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban had signed an agreement on
the project at Paks, in central Hungary, which already runs four
Russian-made VVER-type reactors built in the 1980s.