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I almost became a victim of human trafficking

Writer and sports personality Brittney Cason thought she had been recruited for what seemed like a legitimate network job covering the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Only days before she left, flags started going up.
posted by dry white toast on Feb 26, 2014 - 94 comments

Moving 360

Mercedes F1 uses Visualise for an onboard 360 degree video demonstration. Also in use for stills at Sochi.
posted by juiceCake on Feb 19, 2014 - 26 comments

No spring can follow past meridian

Figure skater Evgeni Plushenko (wiki) withdrew from the men's individual event at the Olympics in Sochi and announced his retirement from amateur skating (NYT) only days after winning gold in the team event. Plushenko has won medals at four Olympic Games* (2006 gold: Short Program, Free Skating; 2014 gold; 2002: SP, FS, 2010: SP, FS); he has won 17 gold, 8 silver and 2 bronze medals in major competitions in spite of a 2006-2008 hiatus and he holds 10 titles in the Russian Nationals in a career spanning over 17 years. He was famous not only for his technique, but also for his grace and showmanship. [more inside]
posted by ersatz on Feb 14, 2014 - 42 comments

“Car for criminals!” said Vlad

Two guys try to drive from Moscow to Sochi in a Lada Niva, the "automotive version of the Russian soul". Hilarity ensues. [SLNYT]
posted by Itaxpica on Feb 8, 2014 - 15 comments

Sochi is the Florida of Russia

The Sochi Project: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus “Sochi used to be much prettier... These days crooks from Moscow come here to build and sell skyscrapers and apartments, although it used to be such a small, lovely town." via The New York Review of Books article on "Why Sochi"
Putin explicitly links the Games to the humiliations of the recent past: “There is also a certain moral aspect here and there is no need to be ashamed of it,” he said. “After the collapse of the Soviet Union, after the dark and, let us be honest, bloody events in the Caucasus, the society had a negative and pessimistic attitude.” The Olympics, he explains, are a necessary part of an effort to “strengthen the morale of the nation.”

posted by spamandkimchi on Feb 6, 2014 - 89 comments

The Synchronized Bowel Movement Venue is ready

The media have begun to arrive in Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics, which kick off this Friday. Aside from the typical local colour, journalists have flagged some, shall we say, idiosyncratic aspects of the facilities and accommodations. The quirk that has generated the most discussion? Well that would have to be the double-toilet stall, and the official PR response. Or it might be the hiring of a local company to kill stray dogs. Last minute dashes to the construction finish line are certainly nothing new for Olympic hosts. Perhaps this is just the Russian take on a time-honoured tradition. Previous coverage of the run-up to the Sochi Olympics here and here.
posted by dry white toast on Feb 4, 2014 - 158 comments

Why did he buy the Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks?

Alexander II was known as the liberator of serfs, because under his rule, in 1861, serfs were granted the freedom to marry without having to gain consent, to own property, and to own businesses. In 1862, Alexander II signed off on the ethnic cleansing of Circassians that began as a simple resettlement, and led to (by official Tsarist documents, more by other accounts) over 400,000 deaths. Circassians in fact protest the 2014 Olympics in Sochi being that it was the supposed site of their final expulsion. [more inside]
posted by oceanjesse on Jan 29, 2014 - 8 comments

The Winter [Olympics] is Coming

Tywin Lannister Narrates an Epic Winter Olympics Promo
posted by meowzilla on Jan 14, 2014 - 48 comments

Moms

Two very different commercials about mothers.
1. Old Spice "Momsong"
2. P&G "Pick Them Back Up"
Bring your tissues for that second one.
posted by Rock Steady on Jan 9, 2014 - 53 comments

"To my friends, everything; to my enemies, the law."

When he was arrested in Siberia in 2003, billionaire oil oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky was "the Bad Bad Leroy Brown of Russia...In a nation of mobsters, he is king, a stone-cold ruthless genius." [more inside]
posted by Snarl Furillo on Dec 29, 2013 - 30 comments

The Voice of Russia

Via decree, Russian president Vladimir Putin has abolished the country's state-owned news agency RIA Novosti, as well as the state-owned Voice of Russia radio station, effective immediately. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Dec 9, 2013 - 47 comments

"This is just a fashionable jacket."

There has been much debate about how to respond to Russia's recent anti-LGBT laws in the context of the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics. This previous post on the Blue covers it all in fine detail. In potentially related news, Germany unveiled their uniforms their athletes will wear during the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as during medal presentations. [more inside]
posted by dry white toast on Oct 2, 2013 - 43 comments

The Games themselves should be open to all

The International Olympic Committee has issued a statement acknowledging the new anti-gay laws signed by Vladimir Putin last month. The Sochi Olympic Games are set to open on February 7. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jul 19, 2013 - 79 comments

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