So, as I mentioned in my previous post I recently spent two weeks in Sochi. Actually, I spent a little less there, as I went to Nebug, a small town north of Sochi, for a couple of days with my friends.

Since I came back everyone, who heard about Sochi’s Olympic future, keeps asking me what’s being done for the Olympics, what has changed – but what could change in two month?! Not much. Nothing, in fact, changed so far. We arrived to the same old airport terminal, no major constructions throughout the city, though I haven’t visited Krasnaya Polyana this time, where I hear some road constructions are on the way.

Well, some thing have changed, but not related to the Olympic bid win. New night clubs opened, such as “Platforma” club in the sea, which instantly overtook a crown from club “Malibu” as most popular open-air club in Sochi. Many places with beautiful landscaping jobs now have green highlights at night – this makes everything look beautiful. The public transportation problem as bad ad ever, and is worsened by the increasing amount of traffic in the city. At times the traffic in Sochi is as bad as it is in Moscow or Manhattan during peak hours. I almost missed my flight to Moscow sitting in the traffic. Of course, this goes back to the “roads problem” that our government promises to fix by the Olympics.

While I was there, the preparations to host the The Sixth International Investment Forum and following visits by Prime Minister of Spain Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, and the President of the International Olympic Committee Jacques Rogge were on the way. This caused some roads to be closed, which just added problems for drivers in Sochi, and subsequently increased taxi ride prices for the rest.

One major change, however, did take place – people don’t know what’s coming next. Especially I could hear uncertainty from the people who live in Adler and Khosta districts, who will be affected the most by upcoming changes. The main concern for them is their homes – many of them do not own apartments they live in, so they are afraid of evictions and that they’ll be given new places in Lazarevsky district, which can be 80 miles away from where they live now, where jobs and friends are. Others, are worried that they will not be offered enough money for their homes for them to buy comparable place to live in the same area. And so far there is no official information available for these people.

Meanwhile the new “Olympic” law is being discussed in Duma (the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia (legislature)). This law will regulate the real estate disputes that may arise during the Olympic-related construction. According to the officials, the owners will be offered similar real estate, or the money, while market value of the property will be determined by the independent appraiser. In case owner of the property does not agree to what he’s offered, he’ll have to take it to court. We’ll see how it’s going to work in practice soon after (if) the law passes in Duma.

Another two rumors I’ve heard were that (a) after the season is over, the city will be closed for tourism for the next three years while construction is going on; and (b) that during the Olympics the city will only be opened to the Olympics visitors and local residents, as it was in Moscow in 1980. I think both of these are not realistic at best, and won’t talk about them – just mentioned it because they it’s out there.

So, the officials called Investment Forum a success, which hopefully means everyone knows what they’re building. The Olympic law will most likely be approved really soon, and the State Olympic corporation, which will build sports venues in Sochi, is being formed. Looks like they almost ready to start!

Leave a Comment