January 01, 2014

The Good Fight

For 18 days in February, the world’s attention will be focused on a sleepy Russian seaside city that Soviet-style largesse and oil-fueled oligarch wealth has transformed into an Olympic-opolis. Athletes and citizens from some 80 countries will be strolling Sochi streets, riding sleek new trains up into the mountains, watching skaters, curlers, snowboarders and lugers do amazing things on ice and snow.

Demonstrators will be exercising their rights and voices in special protest zones; beefy security forces, decked out in Star Wars worthy gear, will be making their presence felt; international media will be focusing on rainbow-colored fingernails and overpriced lattes, offering colorful feature stories on the “real Russia”; some unlikely young athlete will be transformed into a media darling, while another’s unexpected upset will be replayed over and over, with knowing commentators shaking their disbelieving, $200 haircuts.

The Olympics are far more than just a sporting event, so we have turned nearly this entire issue over to the games. Yet rest assured this is not an issue all about sport; the stories in this issue tell us much about Russia, its people, politicians, geography and history. And, yes, its athletes...

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Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

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