Olympics, Russian Style

What better way to symbolize Russia’s global reach than through Rosneft, which has been named a top tier sponsor for the 2014 Olympic Games.

“We are very happy to win the right to be a Sochi 2014 partner,” Rosneft president Segrei Bogdanchikov told the BBC. “Sochi 2014 is an important national project and supporting it will increase the profitability of our company.”

But does he mean ‘company‘, or more to the point, ‘country‘?

In any event, the only more humiliating thing than unfinished Olympic infrastructure for the hosts would be a Russian doping scandal. Today, Prime Minister Putin took the initial steps to ensure this won’t happen, announcing the creation of a state doping agency for all Russian sports, only weeks after three Russian biathlon racers tested positive for banned substances at the Biathlon World Championship in South Korea. (Recall that only days before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, seven Russian women athletes were disqualified for switching urine samples before drug tests.)

“Every provision should be made and a state [doping] control mechanism established, and we should act vigorously. If necessary, let’s also discuss moves to toughen penalties,” Putin said at a meeting of the presidential council on sports development and arrangements for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, as reported by RIA Novosti

“I request the Ministry of Sports, Tourism and Youth Policy to involve the sporting public and continue a thorough analysis of the current situation and to draw practical conclusions.”