With the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics rapidly approaching, the international spotlight has turned its focus on Russia. When cities serve as Olympic hosts, the increased visibility can have extremely positive impacts on the community. New facilities are constructed, public works are renovated and authorities are generally on their best behavior. However, this attention can also attract individuals that seek to utilize the international platform to promote acts of evil. Late last week, Russian authorities reported to the global community that they had successfully foiled a terrorist plot to attack the city of Sochi before and during the 2014 Winter Olympics. Initial reports indicate that Russian agents unearthed a cache of weapons that included surface-to-air missiles, grenade launchers, flamethrowers, grenades, rifles, explosives and maps.
Russia’s National Anti-Terrorist Committee found the weapons in Abkhazia. The region was recently involved in the 2008 conflict with Georgia. Russian officials have made the accusation that Chechen separatists and Georgian forces are behind the plot. At this time, Georgian officials vehemently deny any association with the militants in Abkhazia.
“I can only say that the National Anti-Terrorist Committee is staffed with people with peculiar fantasies,” said Shota Khizanishvili, the chief of staff at Georgia’s Interior Ministry. “They’re always trying to accuse Georgia and its secret services of everything in any situation and without any grounds. This is a sign of severe paranoia.”
Any gathering with such magnitude is a target for would-be attackers. Russia has pledged to keep the 2014 Winter Olympics secure. On Thursday, the International Olympic Committee issued a statement saying it had “no doubt that the Russians will be up to the task” of providing security for the games.
While this report is extremely unnerving, it is good to know that these weapons are now secured. It is important that such fears do not interfere with the upcoming Olympic Games, as there is so much international goodwill to be gained through these interactions and competitions. In life, there are always bad apples in the mix — its important to remember that they represent a minuscule percentage of the population — and only hold as much power as we give them.