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Russia was starting to look like a world power again.To top it off, the International Olympic Committee awarded the 2014 Winter Games to Russia's Black Sea resort, Sochi.In many respects, it was a strange choice of venue: Sunny Sochi has beautiful mountains but little or no snow.Addressing the Olympic Committee, Putin argued that awarding Russia the Olympic Games would not only allow it to showcase its post-Soviet achievements; it would also help the country through its political and economic transition. Nothing seemed too difficult for Putin, even mouthing unnecessary democratic platitudes for an Olympic committee that had already awarded the 2008 Summer Olympics to Beijing.Russia is proving to be an unsuitable host for other reasons.The authorities must also contend with threats from Islamist insurgents from Chechnya, who are now operating in other North Caucasian republics, a mere 320 km from Sochi.Putin's Russia is weak, tawdry and corrupt – and undeserving as an Olympic host. The atmosphere surrounding the Sochi Games reflects many of Russia's worst traits.
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