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Letter: Russia needs much more than Olympics

RE: “Why Russia needs the Olympic games,” Wednesday, February 5, 2014

To the Editor:

To the author of the article discussing why Russia needs the Olympics — the Olympics do not serve as a beacon of hope for the Russian people. The Olympics serve as a platform for Putin to boast about the excess of Russian elites while taking Russia’s problems and sending them to a Siberian gulag. What offers hope for Russian citizens is continued protests of the Games and continued support for Putin’s opposition.

Amidst all of the controversies and corruption, how can you possibly say that the Olympics offers a way out and an escape? The modern Olympics, since its rebirth in 1896, have always served as a political platform (just like 1936 Berlin, 1980 Moscow, and 1984 Los Angeles).

A win for Russia’s Olympic team is a win for Putin, a former KGB executive. Since he’s been in power, he has put Russia in reverse, leading it back towards the ways of the Soviet Union. The fact that all who oppose him get sent to prison should have raised eyebrows long before the awarding of the Sochi Games. But it’s never a problem until it’s too late.

You mention you’re Finnish, a descendent from a country that has never been under Soviet rule. As a Canadian, I understand your dislike for Russia in sports, but historically Finns have had it easy with regards to the USSR/Russian Federation. The remaining countries across Eastern Europe and Asia suffered hardships and struggle that people and history books will never understand. As a descendant of those affected by the Soviet tyranny, these Games make me very uneasy. Even recent activities by Russia in countries like Georgia, Estonia and Uzbekistan, illegal as they were, barely caused the rest of the world to bat an eye.

Beijing was awarded the Olympics in 2008 with the hopes that they would clean up their human rights violations, but had no success. How are we to expect that a tyrannical dictator like Putin would let any exposed injustices stand in his way to deliver “the best Games” ever? Russia needs protests like Ukraine. Russia needs to be exposed on a grand stage for the fraudulent and horrendous country it is. If this is what you meant by Russia needing the Olympics, then I agree with you.

Mihkel Kutti
Health Science IV

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  • Mihkel Kutti

    As if anyone help the annexed Soviet nations. While Finland retained independence, the remaining countries had to suffer until the collapse of the USSR in 1991. Finland managed to avoid the tyrannical rule of the Soviets, remaining independent while Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania were ALL illegally annexed.

    I understand your bitterness towards being left alone for a battle, but when these other countries suffered decades of oppression and millions being sent to Siberia to freeze to death, your vague ‘get your facts straight’ statement does not really help you here.
    Many of these countries are still reeling from the effects of communism, 20+ years later. Some have yet to regain the population totals prior to Soviet occupation. I’m sorry for Finland if they felt alone, but no one cared about these other 14 countries’ existence until they could be an economic benefit.

    I have visited Finland, and it’s a beautiful country, with nice people and a very pretty landscape. I’ve also been to former Soviet occupied countries, and it’s the exact opposite. Not only are there massive areas of vacated and crumbling buildings, the overall psyche of the citizens is vastly different from local Finns, who are polite and cheery. Former ‘citizens’ of the USSR are hardened, bitter, and cynical, still terrified of Russia’s ability to overtake them at the drop of a hat.

    I also have lost family members to the Siberian gulags, and grandparents who fled their homes, sat in P.O.W. camps, and luckily made it to Canada. I have also studied Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union for many years, both in university and in my spare time.

  • Hunter Tim

    First of all, Finland has endured just as much or even more tyranny from the soviets than those aforemetioned countries. Do you forget the Winter War of 1940 where 2 million soviets invaded a defenceless Finland with no one there to help? Please get your facts straight.