Can you put a price on friendship? Well it turns out that Russia can and Russia did. After spending enough to money to make Bill Gates blush, they managed to achieve a record of the most expensive Olympics ever, even topping the significantly larger Beijing 2008. Given that everyone was on the edge of their seats waiting for something to go wrong, all we got were reports of crappy accommodation and an Olympic ring that failed to open in the opening ceremony. And to give credit where credit’s due, they managed to turn around the failed Olympic ring with outstanding humour in the closing ceremony.
So what if they chose to spend more than all of the previous winter Olympics combined to raise their country’s profile, if any country needed an image boost, it was Russia. They are ruled by a Bond villain who thinks homosexuals are pedophiles and everyone has a camera mounted on the dashboard of their car, because who knows what crazy shiz could go down at any moment. The Sochi Olympics went surprisingly well all things considered.
Russia may have spent a reported $50 billion and sure, $8.7 billion of that (more than the entire cost of the Vancouver games) went on a 31-mile stretch of road and railway into the ski resort. And sure it may have been estimated that for that level of investment they could have paved the entire stretch of road with Beluga caviar, but that simply wouldn’t have been practical. At the end of the day, Russia’s global image leapt up massively in the eyes of many as a result of Sochi 2014. Admittedly it wasn’t really possible for their image to drop any lower than it was, so what could go wrong?
Well hello Crimea, the autonomous state of Ukraine. “Of Ukraine” being a key part of that sentence. After the corrupt gimp previously in charge of Ukraine decided to ignore a key trade agreement with Europe to forge closer ties to Russia months ago, lets just say, the poop hit the electronic rotary cooling device. No need for details as the issue has been very widely covered.
But recently Crimea decided that they no longer want to be part of a Ukraine not led by a Russian crony and chose to have a secession referendum (which sounds like an episode of the Big Bang Theory). Unsurprisingly the majority Russian speaking population voted to rejoin Russia in the illegitimate poll and Vladamir “Blofeld” Putin effectively invaded Crimea to welcome them back with open arms. Those arms being AK47s waved at Ukranians and putting the two countries on the brink of war.
So what better way to negate a colossal investment in your self-image than to invade another country? I guess it is fortunate that most of that money probably went to Putin’s friends anyway otherwise it would have been a real exercise in wasting money. It is worth noting that tens of thousands of Russians marched against the government’s effective invasion to decry Putin’s actions, but it is also probably worth noting that we haven’t heard from them again. That is what happens when your ruler operates from a volcano lair.
Inspired by the Crimean referendum, I think I have had it with this Conservative government and I declare my home an independent state and seek a wealthy villain to accept me into their new empire. I voted yes, and that vote is as legitimate as the Crimean one, so it is pretty much a done deal. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. But for the meantime, I’d recommend preparing for what will happen after the World Cup is hosted by Russia in 2018 as I have seen Putin casting longing looks at Finland and Belarus.
Join our tribe
We promise to pop a whole host of good stuff into your inbox every Wednesday to brighten up your week. Can't say fairer than that now can we?