Sochi. The anti-Sochi campaign is in full swing. (The Guardian gets everything in including the coming lack of snow about which it has some mystical foreknowledge). We have not just the homosexual stuff (a German reporter somewhat surprised to get the nonplussed view of the owner of one of two Sochi gay bars) but also the sad history of the Circassians. I have noticed pieces here and there concluding that Russia must “acknowledge its violent history in the region” or something. That’s odd, I don’t recall huffy op-eds calling on Canada to acknowledge how it came to possess the site of the Calgary Olympics or the USA the Salt Lake City site (opportunity there for two “acknowledgements”). What a load of pretentious rubbish! The cruel fate of the Circassians is hardly unknown in Russia and the authors of these pieces seem to be equally unaware of who they are (not Turkic. Quite the reverse in fact) but also that there are plenty of Circassians still living there. And that some are returning. This is all part of the current thrust of anti-Russia propaganda. As to corruption, these expensive Olympics (but the Russian Audit Chamber says direct Olympic expenses are more like $6-7 billion) may well exceed the Olympic norm but a lot has actually been built. While the site is ideal, the decayed Soviet infrastructure was not. Here is a list in Russian of what has been created in exchange for the 50-some billion – much more than just sports facilities: roads, bridges, power plants, tourist facilities to name a few. Moscow appears to be using the Olympics as an opportunity to make its Black Sea coast into an up-to-date tourist attraction. A website written by two Westerners, one of whom lives there shows many of these new things. There are going to be a lot of surprised Westerners; but then, Westerners depending on their media for information have been surprised by Russian reality for two decades now.