The complete guide to corruption in Sochi
The games in Sochi have been the most expensive Olympic Games ever, costing the Russian government around $51 billion. China spent an estimated $42 billion preparing for the summer games in 2008, and the United Kingdom spent only around $15 billion on the 2012 Olympics — and more Olympians compete in summer than in winter. Sochi has been so expensive because the oligarchs who received construction contracts from the government were on the take, according to the prominent opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
Navalny’s organization (in English, the Anti-Corruption Foundation), launched a Web site a couple of weeks ago with a detailed map of the Sochi area, showing all of the construction projects for which he argues the government overpaid. As shown in the chart above, a new two-lane, 11-mile (17-kilometer) road cost $2.5 billion — enough for 280 miles (450 kilometers) of four-lane road under ordinary circumstances, according to Navalny. Investors pocketed all the extra change, Navalny suggests. Russian President Vladimir Putin has disputed his accusations, calling them “speculation.”
Navalny was sentenced to a five-year prison term in July on what he claimed were politically motivated charges, but was released in the fall and apparently wasted no time getting back to work. Some observers worry, however, that Kremlin officials only tolerate him because they do not see him as a real threat.
Click below to explore Navalny’s site. He provides detailed information about all of the construction projects and the people responsible for them.