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Dark Humor Reigns As Russia's Winter Olympics City Floods

A YouTube user films himself amidst Sochi city officials' post-rainfall cleanup efforts, 26 September 2013, screen capture.

A YouTube user films himself amidst Sochi city officials’ post-rainfall cleanup efforts, 26 September 2013, screen capture.

Sochi, the site of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, was hit by massive flooding last week, just as the International Olympic Committee wrapped up its final inspection visit. On the virtual side of things, videos and photos of the storm's damage soon inundated the Russian Internet, where bloggers raised yet another round of complaints about the Olympics’ injury both to the area's environment and the nation’s budget.

Popular LiveJournal user Andrei Malgin posted a few photos of the flooding on his blog [ru] with a short summary from the online news site Lenta.ru, receiving nearly 100 comments.

One of Malgin's readers observed [ru]:

Пожарные машины откачивают воду с центральных улиц.

и куда откачивают, интересно?

Fire trucks drained the water from the central streets.

And where did they pump it, I wonder?

Another reader joked [ru] in response:

На центральные площади

Into the central squares.

LiveJournal user antirobot_idiot mocked the incompetence of the local authorities, writing [ru]:

утрамбовывают ее в дома жителей

They rammed it into people’s homes.

Claiming to be a longtime Sochi resident, LJ user frauava bemoaned [ru]:

Все, что могли, нарушили. Я давно живу в Сочи – ТАКОГО не было никогда. ТАКИХ смерчей никто здесь не припомнит. НГарод горько шутит, что теперь они сгоняют тучи, чтобы на Красной Поляне смог выпасть снег к ОИ.

[The authorities] broke everything they could. I have lived in Sochi for a long time, and it was never like THIS before. Nobody here remembers windstorms like THIS. The people are now joking bitterly that they're driving the storm clouds to Krasnaya Polyana [the Olympic alpine resort], in order to get snow to fall at the Olympic Games.

Egor Grys, another blogger claiming to hail from Sochi, confirmed that the city rarely sees so much rainfall in September. He suggests that some of the construction for the Olympics is at least partly to blame for the flooding:

на самом деле город расположен вдоль узкой полоски берега, и вода с гор, по рекам должна быстро беспрепятственно стекать в море. возможно, массированная застройка этой полосы привела к ухудшению условий поверхностного стока воды.

In fact, the city is located on a narrow strip of shore, and water from the mountains should drain quickly and freely into the sea. It's possible that all the massive construction on this strip led to a deterioration of the conditions of water drainage on the surface.

In an interview with English-language daily The Moscow Times, opposition leader Boris Nemtsov alleged [en] that “the floods might have been triggered by a drastic change in the climate recently, which was in turn provoked by environmental damage caused by all the construction.”

On his Facebook wall (in a post that attracted 281 “likes” and 47 “shares”), journalist Yevgeny Levkovich suggested satirically [ru] that the flooding was punishment from God for the sins of Putin’s government, including mass theft, the ecological destruction caused by Olympic site construction, the Circassian Genocide, and Putin's recent divorce. 

Blogger Igor Nemov alleged [ru] that local officials and builders are celebrating the flooding because of the opportunity the damage presents for repair work and new state contracts.

Эх, сейчас в честь наводнения в Сочи, наверняка местные чиновники и строители откупорили бутылочки элитного коньяка и шампанского. Это просто праздник какой-то для них.

Ah, in honor of the floods in Sochi, local officials and builders have surely uncorked bottles of fancy cognac and champagne. This is just a holiday for them.

Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee's visit to Sochi was declared a success [en] by Jean-Claude Killy, the delegation's leader and a former Olympic skier. “Our impression is unanimous, everything is very impressive,” he said.

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