Archive for August, 2008

Olympic preparations quick fact: Aug 20, 2008 (+ pics)

Development, Olympics 2014 August 20th, 2008

Construction of 17 Olympic projects is already underway, another 100 projects are in the engineering phase, and around 60 more Olympics-related projects are applying for expert evaluation.

This info is from RIA Novosti. They also have some recent photos from constructions sites. Here a few of ‘em:

City and residents found compromise on Olympic venues land

Development, Olympics 2014, Sochi News August 20th, 2008

Olympic venues constructions start moves closer to the reality as Sochi administration and the residents of the Imeritinskaya Valley, where the Sochi 2014 Olympic Park will be located, reached compromise on where the residents will be relocated.

Russia offered exceptionally compact plan, where all the competition venues would be within 30 miles of each other. It will consist of two parts: mountain region, hosting sliding and skiing events, and sea-side region, where ice venues will be located. The sea-side region will be located in the Imeritinskaya Valley of the Adler district. There were several concerns with this location, the biggest one being a question of what to do with the people who live there now. Government has promised to make everyone happy, but with realty prices in Sochi skyrocketing after the successful Olympic bid, residents of “Imeritinka” (as locals call Imeritinskaya Valley) did not trust government to be good to its word. Most recent conflict was in the end of July, when locals did not allow city’s officials to their territory to measure their land.

But it appears that long fought battle is over. Earlier Sochi administration officials said that comromise has been reached, and not a single person will be relocated from the areas of Olympic construction without having their social issues taken care of first. And today Alexander Tkachev, governor of Krasnodarski Krai, signed first nine of 138 orders to take over real estate properties for the Olympic construction.

What is the deal

The details of the deal are as follows: residents will be able to choose between a new house in the eastern Imeritinskaya Valley build by the city, and a residence paid for by administration. For those who will choose to live in eastern part of Imeritinskaya Valley, the administration is allocating 66 hectares for the real estate properties where brand new houses will be built, as well as all necessary infrastructures. In addition to this, new cultural-historical center will be established to preserve traditions of the Old Believers community who live in Imeritinka as well.

It sounds like a really good deal. Especially considering that some parts of the Imeritinka has little to none of basic infrastructure.

First nine household will be relocated until the end of this year, while the rest of them during next 1,5-2 years span.

Investors did not show interest in Sochi’s Olympic venues

Development, Olympics 2014 August 13th, 2008

Olympstroy, state corporation responsible for coordination of the Olympic construction in Sochi, could not attract investors for some of the Olympic venues. The tender’s deadline was August 8, but there were no proposals for four projects, including the ice arenas.

The Olympstroys’ tender projects are tandems of Olympic venue plus hotel(s). Lenta.ru quoting Pokrov Invetment Group’s President saying that pay-off period for hotels can be from eighth years and more, while for the sports venues from 12 years to never. By his calculations sport venue + hotel tandem could take more than 20 years to pay-off.

Meanwhile, officials are not surprised about the outcome. The press secretary of the Ministry of Regional Development said that ice arenas in many countries are not paying off and are built on governments’ funds. However, the administration had to try to find private funds for these venues.

Now there will be separate tenders for the hotels, while Olympstroy will finance the venue constructions, and run separate tenders for prime contractors for the venues construction.

Information from Lenta.ru and Kommersant.ru

Sochi-natives in Beijing Olympics

People August 9th, 2008

Elena Vesnina (Елена Веснина)

Tennis [beijing2008, wiki]
Event: Women’s Doubles


Victoria Gurova (Виктория Гурова)

Athletics [beijing]
Event: Women’s Triple Jump


Vladimir Karpets (Владимир Карпец)

Cycling Road [beijing, wiki]
Events: Men’s Individual Time Trial, Men’s Road Race

* sochi2014.com reports he’s Sochi native, but everywhere else I look – he’s from St.-Petersburg. Important thing he’s from Russia :-)


Tatiana Bazyuk (Татьяна Базюк)

Sailing [beijing]
Event: RS:X Women


Best of luck to you guys!!

Meanwhile, Russia got it’s first medal — silver in shooting by Lioubov Galkina! Yay!!

Explosion in Sochi: new details

Sochi News August 9th, 2008

There are a few important details on explosion in Sochi. Or I should say explosions – plural.

This isn’t the first explosion this year in Sochi, and it isn’t the first with human casualties. It is, in fact, fourth. I didn’t write about previous ones because.. well, because of the same reasons I don’t blog every day — no time, and plenty of other information I’d happily share. Also, the investigators weren’t officially linking them together, which meant it could be criminal related, not terror.

All that changed today. All four explosions are now  Read the rest of this entry »

War in South Ossetia: day two

Other stories, Russia August 8th, 2008

I didn’t really want to write about this topic on this blog, but reading through US online media all day long and reading through people’s reactions in the comments, it continues to amaze me how single-sidedly the story is delivered, and how quickly people are buying it. CNN, for example, been only quoting Georgian media, and running Saakashvili’s press conferences clips — smiling, he tells the World of Russian aggression. Lets get things straight, asshole — you’ve started the attack on Ossetia, which has been independent from you for over 15 years, successfully running it’s own affairs and living peaceful life only disturbed by Georgia’s sporadic gun firings. You came in, destroyed most of the capital, killed hundreds of people, thousands more lost their homes and are seeking refuge in Russia, and yet more are still left without food and water.

Anyways, Russian troops moved in to stop the killing. Things are far from over, and I really want to see Russian gov’t get bigger balls, and make sure Georgian troops won’t be able to use force on South Ossetia’s civilians, or any other for that matter.

There are two phone hot-lines opened in Russia for anyone looking for information on killed or injured Ossetian civilians and Russian peacekeepers. The numbers are: 7 (8672) 25-03-43 and 7 (8672) 25-03-40

There also are a couple of funds opened collecting money for Ossetians. Unfortunately both are only for Russian currency, so I’ll just post links for the websites where details for wire transfers can be found.

First one is opened by the government of North Ossetia. The wire transfer details are here, here, and here. Websites are major media sites and are in Russian.

Second is opened by the Russian Childern Fund (official site).

Violence near Russia’s southern borders

Russia, Sochi News August 7th, 2008

Two major disturbing (to say the least) developments hit Southern Russia today: blast on one of the Sochi beaches, and Georgia waging new war on it’s breakaway republic – South Osetia.

Blast on Sochi beach

Custom made bomb exploded on a beach in Loo — town in Greater Sochi located in Lazarevsky district — around 10:30am. Two people died — 22 years old woman, student from Ukraine, and 31 years old man from Rostov-on-Don, Russia. Number of injured varies between 8 and 13 in different sources. Interfax agency reports 8 people in hospitals as of late evening Sochi time. Witnesses say the girl was blown into pices.

Government, including federal, took this incident very seriously. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev instructed his rep. in southern Russia to take the investigation under his personal control. Unfortunatelly, at this point there is no information about who and why could have set the bomb up. $85 000 is offered for any information helpful for the investigation.

War in Osetia

After fifteen years of relative peace in Osetia, after years of arms build up by Georgia following it’s defeat from this small republic, after very recent surge in pro-Georgian and anti-Russian publications in US media, and right after recent war games held together with US army in the region, Georgia officially declared war on it’s breakaway republic South Osetia, which borders Russia’s South.

I will let you follow this with propaganda sources you trust (if you don’t have favorite one, you can start with Interfax New Agency’s news feed, which is updated almost live, RIA Novosti, and Russia Today – all in English), but here where it is located geographically:

Helping out with Olympics preparations: the Olympic tenders and investment opportunities!

Development, Olympics 2014 August 6th, 2008

Sochi Olympic Cooperation

Own a business or have money to invest? You can help Sochi to get things done on time! :)

There are two places I know where you can find information about Olympics-related tenders. One is the official website of the Sochi Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games, and the other one is the website of the state corporation “Olympstroy”.

And these are not only tenders for construction of the Olympic venues for the Sochi Olympic Games, but also for smaller stuff, like supplying construction equipment, autos, office supplies and equipment, providing services like financial audits and technical expertise for various events, etc.

The trick with the Organizing Committee for OG is to monitor both Russian- and English-language versions of the websites. French-language version of the website doesn’t have any information on official tenders. Most tenders are published in the Russian section (of course in Russian language), and fewer are on English (in English). Looks like it depends on the tender where each one goes. Right now there are five open tenders in the Russian section.

The Russian section also lists several high-level open vacancies open in the Organizing Committee. I assume this means that the candidate has to be fluent in Russian. The English section’s “vacancies” section is empty for now.

Sochi Olympic tenders from the Sochi Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games:
- Russian language
- English language

The state corporation “Olympstroy” opened redesigned website about a week ago, and also lists all tenders there Read the rest of this entry »

2000 Russian girls in bikini: Cosmo-blog updated

Events, Sochi News August 6th, 2008

Remember the recent post about Cosmopolitan-Russia getting hundreds of girls on a Sochi beach for the Guinness World Record? Well, they finally updated their official blog with a lot more photos and videos from the event! Go check it out :)

Cosmo.Ru on the Beach

Bikini Girls in Sochi

Photo (c) Cosmopolitan-Russia & Alexander Popov

I also found great set of photos from this Bikini Boom in Sochi event on Flickr, you can see it here: Bikini Boom in Sochi.

Russian Girls in Sochi

Photo (c) simam @ flickr

Recent blog changes

Sochi-Travel.Info August 1st, 2008

Last night I upgraded blog engine and had to change the theme as the old one did not support new blog features. However, I like the new theme, and hope you do too — it’s light and clean, and it took me some time to pick the theme :) The design will change a little, and I’ll bring my Flickr photos back soon.

Upgrade did not go smooth, so you’ll see weird characters in old posts, but I’m planning to fix it within a few days (upd: done!). There are a few good changes that come with new engine and new theme:

  • Most recent comments are now on top, so you can see what visitors are commenting on, and join the conversation;
  • Now we have tags. See tag cloud on the right. I’ll try to tag old posts over time;
  • Search is back! I had some problems with search before, but it works here now. The search box is on the sidebar;
  • Trackbacks & pingbacks are now separated from the comments.

Soon I’ll add contact form, and, maybe, forum. I’m also thinking on switching my RSS feed to FeedBurner (I’ll notify in advance if I decide to do it), and adding RSS-to-email form.

If you’d like to see some other functional features on this blog let me know!

Cycling: ProTour in Sochi from 2009 onwards

Events, Sochi News August 1st, 2008

UCI ProTour be run in Sochi from 2009 onwards. The inaugural race would take place from May 20 to May 24 2009. Here is Sochi-part of the «ProTour heading East» news article by cyclingnews.com:

As mentioned above, a five day event in the Sochi region will be run from 2009 onwards. The resort area is the location for the 2014 winter Olympics and holding a top-level cycling event there is part of the Russian government’s plan to tie other sporting events in with this.

The drive to have a ProTour race goes all the way to the top; Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was involved in that and will send his deputy PM Alexander Zhukov to supervise the race. The latter will act as the chairman of the race organizing committee.

For many years the area has hosted the GP Sochi, a 2.2 race which was held in April of this year. This will remain, with a new event in the same area being added to the highest rung of the calendar. «Sochi has been having its own race for the last 55 years. We are going to leave it there and have this ProTour race separately,» Gusyatnikov said. «The plan this year is to have a trial race, running from the 10th – 14th of September. Then next year the new [ProTour] race will be held.

«It will be the Tour of Sochi. Some people want to called it the Tour of Sochi 2014 to underline the Winter Olympics connection, but personally I am against that because we don’t want to mix up the sports.»

The first edition of the race will be five days long and is pencilled in to take place from May 20th – 24th. It will be developed over time, with additional roads being built in the area for this purpose. It may also become longer in duration, depending on how the first few editions go.

Read the rest of this entry »

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