Take a Look Inside the Wasteful Spending of the Most Expensive Winter Olympics Ever

Free-market-loving, pro-transparency, anti-corruption activist
and former Moscow mayoral candidate Alexei Navalni has launched a
stellar website to help world citizens see exactly who is raking in
the rubles at the Sochi Olympics.

The site is here, and it’s
in English, allowing people to discover which oligarchs and friends
of President Vladimir Putin are building overpriced facilities for
the most expensive Olympics ever. The Associated Press

Russia has spent about $51 billion to deliver the Olympics in
Sochi, which run Feb. 7-23, making them the most expensive Olympics
ever even though winter games have many fewer athletes competing
than summer games do.

Navalny claims that Russia spent twice as much as necessary to
build at least 10 of the Olympic venues — including the Bolshoi Ice
Palace, the Fisht Stadium for the opening/closing ceremonies and
the speed-skating arena.

Allegations of corruption have dogged preparations for the Sochi
Games for years, as reported by The Associated Press and others.
Navalny’s new website — Sochi.FBK.info — combines data gathered
during his own investigations along with media reports and other
activists’ analysis.

But who can put a price on the respect the country would get ... if everybody weren't horrified about them beating up the gays.

The site is very slick and will make Western data-driven
investigative reporters applaud. It documents a couple dozen sites
connected to the Olympics themselves or the infrastructure to host
the Olympics, detailing the financial travails, overpayments, and
potential problems for each location. For example, the builders of
the Olympic Village received a state loan for more than $670
million to build housing. After the Olympics, the company expects
to recoup the costs by selling the housing in the resort community.
But based on the construction prices, in order to recoup the costs,
the site claims, a single guest room will have to be sold for the
price a two-bedroom apartment goes for in Moscow. Experts don’t
believe there is enough demand for the housing. The state bank has
already declared the loans “bad,” and if the village tanks after
the Olympics, the losses will be covered by the federal budget.

The site documents how overpriced each Olympic venue is with
breezy comparisons (instead of buying a seat at the Bolshoy Ice
Dome, you could buy a new Toyota Corolla) and compares them to the
prices of similar previous Olympic venues.

Olympic overspending is nothing new and Russia is hardly unique,
though clearly they’re taking it to a degree not yet seen before.
Despite an audit from the Russian government showing at least a
half-billion in overspending, Putin was dismissive, saying the
whole problem was due to “honest mistakes” in estimating costs,
according to the AP. Putin must classify himself among those
honest-mistakers, as he said last spring the Olympics would cost
$6.5 billion, according to the site. Off by a factor of about
eight, there, Mr. President.

Reason’s Zenon Evans analyzed Navalny’s failed effort to defeat
a Putin crony to become mayor of Moscow
. Nick Gillespie notes that Olympics are always big money
losers here.
The Sochi Olympics may yet end up being the money-losingest of them
all, except for those friends of Putin’s.

from Hit & Run http://ift.tt/1hFC2BQ

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.