The Greatest Target of Opportunity: Sochi Winter Olympics 2014
I think I would follow the advice of the US Government and others- don't go to Sochi, Russia, to enjoy the Olympics. While President Putin has assured the world that his 100,000 man security force will make it safe, there are many places outside of the Sochi area where the games occur ripe for an attack.
For instance, people arriving by train must go through the same Volgograd station that was just attacked by Chechen terrorists killing many. The same Chechens now have promised to have a surprise for the Olympic games. Many sites for the various games can only be secured in the immediate area and are subject to attack by gunman. Putin is making it Sochi secure, but in doing so, many tourists will feel quite intimidated and feel spied upon by Russian security. The Russians have promised to surround Sochi with a “ring of steel,” but there are many areas not within the ring and with 15,000 Americans planning to attend, Americans make a sensational target.
Vilayat Dagestan is one of the groups that make up the so-called Caucasus Emirate, which seeks to establish an independent Islamic state in the North Caucasus, a region just to the east of Sochi. In the recent video, two Russian-speaking men warned President Vladimir Putin that "If you hold these Olympics, we will give you a present for the innocent Muslim blood being spilled all around the world: In Afghanistan, in Somalia, in Syria."
There is a 30% chance that a terrorist attack inside the perimeter will occur, who knows what it will be outside of it. The Russian Chechen group carrying out the terrorist attacks are deadly and the numbers are surprisingly high: 659 killed and 490 wounded in 182 "terrorist attacks" in Russia last year alone. There are four terrorist groups in the region and all hate Russia and the Olympic games will be a too attractive target for world recognition to miss. You can almost count on some attack occurring during the games. The four groups in the area are independent of each other but all subscribe to the al-Qaeda Muslim beliefs.
The question comes down to is the high risk worth going to Winter Olympics? Going to Sochi is long and costly despite it being in a subtropical climate, which seems odd. Wherever you go, you might be watched by Russian security or targeted by radical Islamic attacks.
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