The allegations of extreme corruption in the Russian 2014 Sochi Olympics have got everyone talking, but so far we hear of no corrective action being taken. The media is full of it. The Moscow Times, The Christian Science Monitor and the Novaya Gazeta have covered it well. This speaks of incredibly negative public relations for Russia amidst the world community.
Of course, corruption in the Olympies is not new. But after the efficient and relatively clean Olympics in Vancouver, the mishandling of such a visible international affair as the Winter Olympics forecasts a great loss of prestige for a nation trying to establish itself in as a world leader. As the Christian Science Monitor reported, the Transparency International’s annual corruption perceptions index currently ranks Russia No. 146 out of 180 countries, down from No. 82 a decade ago. A financially corrupt Sochi games will simply highlight that national sickness. And it colors the entire reputation of this honorable historic event. Not much is expected from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s publicized investigation into the affair.
Why would a country’s leadership allow or support such a demeaning thing to happen? The answers may be deep and hard to heal. To some, civil and moral disobedience is not the issue. Getting caught is the offense to avoid. We won’t know the fallout of this for some time. Heads may roll, but pockets will be filled. But, as the Russians often say, “Let’s hope for the best.”