Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Expert on Putin's winter Olympics: "A monumental waste of public money"

You cannot blame Vladimir Putin for neglecting his friends. Bloomberg tells us that the dictator's boyhood friend and former judo partner Arkady Rotenberg's companies have been awarded 227 billion rubles ($7.4 billion) of contracts for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. That is more than the entire budget for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, although it represents only about 15% of the estimate for the Sochi events. 

This is how an expert rates the most expensive - and probably also most corrupt -  winter Olympics ever:

“This is a monumental waste of public money,” Stefan Szymanski, a sports economist at the University of Michigan who tracks Olympic spending, said by phone from Ann Arbor. “A small number of people at the top have control of resources and there is no accountability.”
Rotenberg, 61, is among a handful of men Putin has known since childhood or from his days in the KGB or St. Petersburg government who’ve amassed riches and power during his 13-year rule. Their fortunes have come at times at the expense of men who flourished under his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, and the consequences of the differing wealth pedigrees are on display in Putin’s $50 billion push to prepare Russia for its first Winter Games. The country is considered the most corrupt of the Group of 20 economies by Berlin-based Transparency International. --
While Rotenberg and longtime Putin associates such as Gennady Timchenko, co-founder of oil trader Gunvor, and OAO Russian Railways Chief Executive Officer Vladimir Yakunin, stand to gain from Russia’s Olympian largess, Yeltsin-era tycoons led by Vladimir Potanin and Oleg Deripaska say they’re getting squeezed.

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