Russian President Vladimir Putin is a busy man. He’s found time to prop up Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, negotiate a face-saving chemical weapons deal with President Obama and support violence against Ukrainians, all while overseeing the construction of the most expensive Olympic Village in the history of the games.
The Olympic Village at Sochi had a projected cost of $12 billion. The actual cost was $50 billion. So no more complaining about The Big Dig. It could have been worst.
And, like The Big Dig, all that money failed to buy quality construction. Stories abound of shoddy construction and faulty work. The Olympic Village is more like a Potemkin Village.
At the Olympics, color, pageantry and the world’s best athletes draw the television cameras, while a few hundred kilometers away, the Ukrainian government, with help from the Russian government, is killing its people. This week, violence in Ukraine was the worst it’s been since the breakup of the Soviet Union.
As with Syria, the U.S. is leading from behind. While the European Union has at least announced sanctions, the U.S. is only considering sanctions. President Obama denounced Ukraine violence “in the strongest terms,” but talking is the weakest action.