Putting Putin In Perspective

Suspend Trump outrage for a moment. Consider shirtless Putin.

Image result for shirtless putin


Image result for shirtless putin sochi hotels

Image result for shirtless putin sochi hotels

How soon we forget the Sochi Olympics – high priced hotels built to accommodate international travelers, guest room walls adorned with photo shopped art depicting shirtless Putin. Putin declaring all who complained about his half dressed image straddling wild animals above their pillow as –  “babies who cry”. WTF?

Wonder why Trump and Putin play nice? Neither gives a rat’s ass what anyone thinks. Trouble is, Putin has the upper hand. Russians calling bat shit on Putin mysteriously disappear. Americans recognizing Trump as their greatest disaster talk till blue in the constitutional face, all they get is a fake news headache.


“Babies Who Cry” – Shirtless Putin

I can’t decide if I’m being petty, stating the obvious or caught somewhere between disgust and holy crap. Regardless of my motivation; I’m powerless to leave this ponder alone. If this image doesn’t make you wonder, I don’t know what will.



You’ve just checked into your outrageously expensive hotel room in Sochi – hotels built to accommodate international travellers to the Olympics – what’s this? Not landscapes or abstract paintings on the wall; still life photo reproductions of a shirtless Putin – if you’re lucky, photo shopped riding wild animals. Putin straddles a bear above your bed.

Estimated cost of in your face Putin – 2 million dollars. His chest reported to adorn virtually every room in Sochi. In response to numerous complaints from visitors “grossed out” by his bare chest; Putin dismissed outrage, referring to them as “babies who cry”.

Holy crap Putin – what gives? If you want to join the Village People that’s one thing – we totally understand.  If you want to be taken seriously as the leader of a world power – put your damn shirt on.

Passionate Eye on Putin’s Games

Putin can wait a moment while I ponder Passionate Eye. As a Canadian growing up in the bossom of CBC television and radio, my countrymen and I came to expect honest investigative reporting and “facts” rather than conjecture or speculation. When CNN and Fox News forever changed news programming and format; Canadians couldn’t be fooled for long – we like our news in plain brown wrap, securely tied with a sturdy string – we value the content, not glossy paper or glittering bows.

This is why CBC’s (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) voice is where I turn for stories like the one that aired on Passionate Eye. No prime time hype, snippets of glossy sensationalism interrupting regular programming; simply a quiet little documentary, packing a big story. A story shattering the integrity of the International Olympic Committee; one that has me pondering why we would expose innocent athletes to political games.

I have a hard time deciding how to even put this gong show into words; from a “Passionate Eye” perspective, I’ll start at the very beginning. Russia is a vast country, one you would have to search long and hard to find a place without any snow in winter. A tiny little sliver  is considered “sub-tropical”, a resort destination, complete with sandy beaches and palm trees – Sochi – a place that never dips below 10 degrees Celsius in winter. Sochi’s mayor heads the local organization for “beach sports”, the area is surrounded by nature preserves catering to summer activities. Olympic village is 50 Kms from Sochi, and Krasnaya Polyana where alpine events are supposed to take place – another 50 Kms from the village.

Not insurmountable obstacles for an earnest country without many options, or perhaps some infrastructure in place. Putin cares little for such things – he liked the area, thought it was “comfortable and friendly”, liked skiing at Krasnaya and said money be damned. However hair-brained or bat shit crazy it seemed, his mind was set; he would have his Olympics at Sochi.

I couldn’t start to explain all the allegations from this point – only by watching the link below could anyone begin to grasp the farce of this black comedy. From Putin wining and dining each and every Olympic committee member before announcing his bid, flying ice to Guatemala for a “gala” prior to the Olympic committee announcing  the bid winner, involving wealthy Russian businessmen as “partners” in attempts to soothe citizens dismay at the 50 billion dollar and climbing price tag, building facilities like the ski jump and luge venues on land best described as “quicksand” prone to landslides, or allegations of contractor bribes and pay-offs.


For an abbreviated over view….


I just had a lengthy discussion with someone who reminded me of the controversy swirling about prior to the 2010 games in Vancouver. It all came rushing back – concerns over destroying the habitat of a rare frog by widening the highway to Whistler, pushing low income residents out of affordable housing, and messing with our already messy commute times. Sorry – not even close to Sochi shenanigans; nothing worthy of a documentary crew producing a film deemed scandalous enough by a government, as to offer 600,000 Euros not to show it.

I can’t say Passionate Eye has all the facts, or isn’t putting a particular “slant” on the story. I can say that I believe the Sochi situation stinks. Ponder the documentary, terrorist attacks in Russia, Russian military on “high alert”, and America’s announcement it has planes ready to evacuate athletes should Sochi hit the fan. Ponder Putin’s logic – or lack of – in an Olympics that simply doesn’t make sense. Ponder the IOC, sitting in an ivory tower or perched untouchable atop Mount Olympus.

I take media – even Canadian media – with a grain of salt. That said, CBC has more integrity in its little finger than all American networks combined. I can’t shake the feeling we’re being sold swampland in Florida. In my opinion – Sochi smells like week old fish.

Sochi – image from naharmet.com