How safe is Sochi?

Russian security members patrol by the Olympic cauldron and medals plaza.Photo: AFP

Russian security members patrol by the Olympic cauldron and medals plaza.Photo: AFP.
Athletes and guests at the 2014 Winter Olympics should be prepared for legions of security officials at the Black Sea resort city of Sochi.

A state of alarm rules over the Russian city, and not only because militant Islamists have threatened to stop the Olympics with “all means that Allah allows.” More than 60,000 uniformed officials will be in position to defend the Games. And Kremlin boss Vladimir Putin, himself a former head of the state security organisation FSB, does not want leave anything to chance in regards to security.

Sochi will likely eclipse all previous Olympics as far as security is concerned, according to secret service expert Andrei Soldatov. Still, Putin’s project of prestige is already the most expensive Winter Games of all time at around 50 billion dollars.

FSB experts want to use the technical system SORM to not only monitor mobile telephone calls and emails but also messenger services and chats on the internet. In addition, 5,500 cameras will be in place to help with video surveillance.

Media reports say that security services are planning to use drones as well as positioning systems that can direct submarines and therefore stop attacks from the sea.

Commentators are referring to the “Sochi Fortress.”

Many experts shook their heads when Putin selected Sochi as the home for the Olympics — not only because it’s one of the warmest cities in the winter in Russia but also because it is not exactly the safest of regions.

“The city will definitely not look like a concentration camp,” emphasized the leading FSB member Alexei Lavrichtchev.

Russia is looking to have “secure” Games and things being “comfortable” for the participants.DPA



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