At the Sochi Olympics, you have to be a Russian politician to know it’s not raining

COLUMN | Comrades, who needs comforts when you can go see Julia Lipnitskaia set the Olympic ice ablaze? Friends, compatriots, brothers and sisters, workers: President Vladimir Putin has not only created “a ring of steel” for your protection, but also a shield of sequins.

Ignore the attacks from the rear by the perfidious Western conspirators and propagandists, our common enemies who falsify their reports about the Sochi Games. This great national festival has dissolved all dissent, and every fear and problem has been resolved. The Olympics are gigantically staged, and a smiling mood reigns. We see no evidence that it is raining here. If anyone has such information, give it to us, please.

The Kremlin has offered four million rubles for a gold medal, more than 10 times the average Russian yearly salary, which demonstrates how rich is the ruling party United Russia, to which all patriots belong. Ignore the handful of malcontents such as Victor Shenderovich, the Russian writer and radio satirist, who said, “How can I not understand that Lev Tolstoy, the constructivists, and a 15-year-old beauty on skates were summoned to make us completely forget about the current thievery and bloodshed?”

Our friends and enablers at the International Olympic Committee agree: The Winter Games are no place for such politics. Therefore anyone who makes political statements will be detained and attacked politically on the grounds of politicization of the political. In order to educate viewers to this, Rossiya 1, the state channel and official Olympic broadcasters, interrupt Olympic coverage to bring you a documentary about the role of Westerners in fomenting treason. This is patriotism, as opposed to the traitor hooliganism of the punk band Pussy Riot, members of which were detained in Sochi on Tuesday and are promoting a new song, “Putin Will Teach You to Love Your Motherland.”

As for environmentalist Evgeny Vitishko, who has been sentenced to three years in a penal colony for protesting the despoiled ecology around the Sochi Games, according to the IOC, this is a “non-Olympic case.”

Also, we have no evidence of violent protests in Kiev. If anyone has such information, give it to us, please.

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The Sochi Games are the expression of the healthy, wholesome, forward-looking ideology of Putin’s “New Russia.” As an example of this, we offer the example of 31-year-old figure skater Evgeni Plushenko, friend of the president, who was named to the national team despite losing in the trials to 18-year-old Maxim Kovtun. Unfortunately, after skating in the team competition, this skater whose identity is so tied up with the president had to withdraw from the singles clutching an ailing and aging back, after which he told CNN that he had been “forced” to skate, a statement he then withdrew, saying it was an unfortunate misunderstanding.

Among those who misunderstood is Sergey Aleksashenko, economist and liberal ex-patriot politician, who wrote in his blog, “The whole story with Plushenko and Kovtun reminds us of Russian politics. When somebody decides for voters not only who will win in the elections but even who will run in the elections.”

Also suffering from this unfortunate misunderstanding is Nikita Belogolovtsev, a TV reporter for the unwholesomely unpatriotic independent TV station Dozhd. He wrote on another blog about Plushenko: “We can certainly say that he deserves a title ‘Name of Russia.’ The show and the stories of his last year in sports are a reflection of all sides and ‘images’ of the present day life in Russia.”

One commentator who understood the situation perfectly was former Russian Olympic champion Alexei Yagudin, who initially criticized Plushenko for taking a spot and failing to skate, but then said, “You know, I do not think I should make commentaries here . . . if I continue they will make a mincemeat of me.”

From the slopes to the sidelines to a karaoke bar, Washington Post sports columnist Mike Wise shares his most memorable moments covering the Winter Olympics so far. (Casey Capachi/The Washington Post)

The Sochi Games are also the consummate expression of the new united Russia’s prosperity, and progress. Pay no attention to the reports that say oligarch racketeers eat at the economy like worms in a garden. These are the subtle ruses of outside agitators, such as IOC member Gian Franco Kasper, who has claimed that one-third of the approximate $50 billion spent on the Sochi Olympics — more than the gross national product of many countries — was skimmed off. No one has offered proof of this, and no one can, because there is no official budget. As Putin has said: “If anyone has such information, give it to us, please. I repeat once again, we will be grateful.”

Discard also the clever lies of the outside agitators from the Human Trafficking Center and the Human Rights Watch, who claim that in order to build the Sochi Games tens of thousands of migrant workers were abused, their pay withheld, and travel documents seized while they were forced to work inhumane hours in unsafe conditions. This matter was cleared up by the IOC’s Jean-Claude Killy in an interview with that noxious organ the Wall Street Journal, in which he asserted that 100,000 workers had to work around the clock seven days a week to get Sochi ready for the Games.

All of this should demonstrate to you that there are no politics in Sochi, only pure sport. As for these pernicious reports of umbrellas at the mountain venues, we see no evidence of this. If anyone has such information, give it to us, please.

“We don’t need any snow,” said Sergey Belikov, manager of the Rosa Khutor ski resort. “We don’t need to produce any snow. We are not afraid of the sun.”

Sally Jenkins is a sports columnist for The Washington Post.
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Medals
Gold Silver Bronze Total
Russian Federation 13 11 9 33
United States of America 9 7 12 28
Norway 11 5 10 26
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