As you may or may not have heard, the Olympics are starting on Thursday.  Admit it — this crept up on you faster than you expected.  Before you know it, you are going to be sitting around the TV with friends and expected to make witty banter about the events on the screen.  Time to make sure you know your ice dancing from your figure skating from your miracle on ice.

We here at The Monkey Cage want to help you out of this conundrum.  No, we’re not going to expound on the differences between downhill, cross-country and free-style skiing.  Instead, we’re going to play to our strengths: politics.  Or in this case, Russian politics. When you are stumped regarding the official rules on curling, that will be a perfect time to throw out an informed comment about Russia’s fiscal squeeze, its current Arctic policy, or why Vladimir Putin’s popularity slipped in 2011 before recovering recently. Before you know it, your friends will be coming to you for informed commentary on Russian politics, allowing you just a little more breathing room as you try to remember the difference between the luge, the skeleton and the bobsled.

So, keep your eyes peeled for our Russian politics posts, starting Thursday and running on weekdays for the next week or so.  In the meantime, we leave you with “Dare to Curl”: