Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 23, 2014

Do Svidanya Sochi

The Russians delivered tremendous Olympic games with beautiful shows, interesting competitions and with humor and love.

The "western" media did their best to denigrate the games even before they started. The U.S. government put out ridiculous terror warnings to keep its citizens away from the games. U.S. journalists spitted about alleged double toilet bowl stalls which were obviously photographed during renovation works. Russia was portrayed as homophobic.

But the games were beautiful. There was no terror, no gay bashing and the organization was as perfect as it can be. Where things went wrong they were resolved with humor and good will.

That one Olympic ring that did not open correctly during the opening ceremony? It was reflected on in the closing ceremony when dancers humorously re-enacted that faulty ring opening with the faulty one eventually opening too. Make a mistakes, laugh about it and correct it. That's Russia!

The idea to use the floor of the Fisht stadium as a huge projection screen was great. The use of the stadium roof as a gigantic multiple crane runway for moving objects and people in a third stage level was brilliant. Projections, lightning, music and fireworks all were used to perfection.

The themes: Russian art, Russian ballet, Russian classic music, Russian literature, Russian history, Russian circuses. It was all about Russia the Great. And beautiful. The closing: a poetic invitation to self reflection in large levitating mirrors. The big bear mascot dropping a tear as the flame goes out. Hollywood can do no better.

There were also great tributes to all the athletes and their efforts, struggles and victories. The Wall Street Journal had predicted 27 medals for Russia, 6 of them gold. Russian athletes won 33 medals, 13 of them gold. Predicted for the United States 32(13), achieved 28(9). Take that you party-poopers.

The Russians will be very proud of these games. They will be grateful to their government and president for having delivered them. The internal and external message is understood: Russia has again found itself and it is stronger than ever.

The U.S. is ill informed about and underestimating Russia. Therein lies the possibility of serious miscalculations.

Posted by b on February 23, 2014 at 18:29 UTC | Permalink


Such a wonderful show! A big middle finger to the pathetic western states that missed the party.

Posted by: Anonymous | Feb 23 2014 18:53 utc | 1

thanks for saying all this b. it is a nice change and a worthy topic to demonstrate how information and taken and spun a number of ways. it's a reminder to remember the source of the information always and to keep an open mind however much that is discouraged..

Posted by: james | Feb 23 2014 19:07 utc | 2


OT but I must ask, do you make money from this blog? If not you should make that possible.

Posted by: Anonymous | Feb 23 2014 19:36 utc | 3

Yeah it was great! Hats off to Russia.

Posted by: Noirette | Feb 23 2014 20:06 utc | 4

The games were a huge success for Russia and the world. But what about that dirty towel a US journalist found in one of the hotels?

Posted by: harrylaw | Feb 23 2014 20:06 utc | 5

I never cared about the Olympics and never will. I hate nationalism in all its forms and the Olympics is just an orgy of nationalism. Did not watch the opening or the closing ceremonies. Spending all these billions of dollars on these games is not money well spent (Russia spent $54 billion which is the most). There are many other worthwhile projects that Russia can spend its money on.

Posted by: ndahi | Feb 23 2014 20:49 utc | 6

@ndahi,you might hate it but a good dose of sane nationalism is the surest antidote to the actually en vogue neo imperialism.These were well spent 54 billions(if it is true because MSM has been found to lie unremittingly).It laid down a huge infrastructure and boosted tremendously a russian self esteem that the West had tried to mine for the last 20 + years.With self esteem come national pride and unity that are essential at time like this.

Posted by: Nobody | Feb 23 2014 21:18 utc | 7

Thes beautiful olympic games should be seen as symbolic of russias rebirth after the near annhilation of the Yeltsin years.

In spite of the professsional media attacks,

'This year, though, no single skater has managed to separate themselves from the pack. While we flirted with Russian teen Julia Lipnitskaia, we weren't quite in love. She was, perhaps, too fierce, a 15-year-old automaton born to stretch her long limbs for Mother Russia'

'Against all odds, Russian President Vladimir Putin was even more insulting when telling Olympic volunteers that homosexual visitors and athletes had nothing to fear in his country.

“One can feel calm and at ease,” Putin said, per Lally. “Just leave kids alone, please.”

Russian journalist Vladimir Pozner described a culture of fear to NBC's Costas in a riveting interview:'

other Americans, including WEIR have shown their appreciation:

As Putin walked out, escorted by about a dozen security officers, Valerie Ireland called out, "Beautiful Olympics!" Putin stopped, turned around and came back to where Ireland was.

"He said thank you and shook my hand," said Ireland, who had just happened to be at USA House on Friday afternoon.

"I think this is a really beautiful Olympics. I think it kind of got a raw deal in the press," said Ireland, who is originally from New York but is now living in Nairobi. "This is a beautiful Olympics, and the Russians have been so gracious. I just wanted him to know, and I think he appreciated it."

'Dallas Robinson, a group member for the US bobsled team, wrote about his wonderful experience he had from the Olympics at Sochi, Russia. Robinson gave praise to the services he used at Sochi, the townspeople's warm and friendly nature, and the overall pleasant experience he had during his stay.'

Posted by: brian | Feb 23 2014 21:36 utc | 8

Posted by: ndahi | Feb 23, 2014 3:49:51 PM | 6

brother to the Grinch who stole christmas

Posted by: brian | Feb 23 2014 21:37 utc | 9

Unfortunately the Ugly American media didn’t fail to pull something out of its rear and poop the party with a massive "SKY IS FALLING" campaign to denigrate the host Russia and Putin, and bankrupt the games by scaring gullible Western leaders and their people into shunning and staying away from Sochi.

The pied-piper of the Iraq offensive, U.S.A., did manage to lead some sycophantic world players by the nose away from these games, some sending low-level representatives in their place, it's true, but they were quickly left behind in the dust once the games took off, and no one looked back at the dirty tricks Americans pulled to bring down the Sochi games. Finally, not the toothpaste or shoe bomb scare for weeks on end, not the bitchin’ about the water or accommodations; nothing kept these games from becoming the success they were meant to be.

Americans behaved like a bunch of whining crybabies from beginning to end!

Regardless, these games were impressive, the ceremony, music and fireworks spectacular and Russians should be proud of their accomplishments.

Posted by: kalithea | Feb 23 2014 21:37 utc | 10

US media killed the Ruskies before the Games even started. As much as I despise Putin he clearly deserves the Gold for pulling this spectacle off. Now, what to do with the venue..Sarajevo anyone?

Posted by: Michael Lee Shirey | Feb 23 2014 21:38 utc | 11

one of the nastiest and most hypocritical snarls came from canada, poor cousin to the north of the empire

Russian president Vladimir Putin stopped by the USA and Canada Houses in Sochi on Friday, drawing plenty of attention from smartphone-wielding athletes. One of them was Canadian speedskater Brittany Schussler, who took advantage of her proximity to Putin to snap a selfie.

Schussler later tweeted the picture to her followers with the message "I should've asked him to be my Valentine," but was soon met with strong criticism. Enough criticism that Schussler felt compelled to delete the tweet and explain herself to a Canadian newspaper.

.@WinnipegNews I see you put up my tweet pic w/ Putin. To be clear I was joking + in no way want to be misconstrued as supporting his values

— Brittany Schussler (@bschussler) February 15, 2014

Schussler's clarification did not do much for some people:

@bschussler @WinnipegNews I find hanging out with dictators who persecute lgbt folk hilarious! You owe so many an apology. Get informed — roy bruno mitchell (@roybruno) February 15, 2014

@bschussler @WinnipegNews your joke was in poor taste & disrespectful of all the lives lost & continued intolerance because of Putin. Shame.

— K McCallum (@thenthereskeith) February 15, 2014

@bschussler @WinnipegNews horrified to see Canadian athletes gushing about Putin. Ashamed to be Canadian. time to stop funding Olympics — Elinor Mahoney (@EG_Mahoney) February 15, 2014

Schussler wasn't the only one drawing flak as plenty leveled heat at the USA and Canadian Houses for putting politics aside and welcoming Putin in the name of sport. ("Good luck, except in hockey," Putin reportedly said during his Canadian visit.)

She did, however, become one of the biggest targets for people who don't approve of hobnobbing with someone with Putin's human rights record.


this reflexive outrage whereby the pundits behave like...well dictators, and scream at the poor girl forcing her to delete her selfie is revealing of the autocratic nature of people even in 'democracies'

Posted by: brian | Feb 23 2014 21:42 utc | 12

US media killed the Ruskies before the Games even started. As much as I despise Putin he clearly deserves the Gold for pulling this spectacle off. Now, what to do with the venue..Sarajevo anyone?

Posted by: Michael Lee Shirey | Feb 23, 2014 4:38:52 PM | 11

and why do you despise Putin, a man you hardly know, other than thru the MSM? these Phoenix Olympics are symbolic of the rebirth of russia under his leadership.

save your vitriol for the slowly-sinking-into-the-sunset US empire whose latest outrage is to back neronazi putschists in Ukraine

Posted by: brian | Feb 23 2014 21:45 utc | 13

speaking of symbolisn, but of a different order: neonazis in Ukraine demolish statue to soldiers who died liberatging uktraine from....the nazis!

Monument to soldiers who died liberating Ukraine from Nazis toppled (PHOTOS)

these are the guys McCain (Bomb Bomb Bomb iran) wants russia to back off from opposing...

americans should be at best ashamed of their miserable government

Posted by: brian | Feb 23 2014 21:49 utc | 14

Meanwhile the inievitable nordamericano trogolydte:
1. Gord Miller ‏@GMillerTSN 6 hrs
As #Sochi2014 comes to a close, the IOC remains committed to its core values: soft on totalitarianism, tough on allergy medication.

Who is soft on totalitarianism?
US friendly dictators

Posted by: brian | Feb 23 2014 22:01 utc | 15

Manitoba has a substantial Ukrainian population who are easy to get riled up about things Russian, especially right now. Still, it shows how Americanized Canada has become since Harper took power. His party (not the old
Conservatives who were anti-American and pro-Brish Empire) has been working overtime with help from American Republican political operatives to pull this off.

Glad the Games came off well. I didn't watch except for a few minutes at the gym. In my declining years sports hold less interest. Ballet, on the other hand ...

Posted by: Knut | Feb 23 2014 22:33 utc | 16

Great summary reflecting what every normal person thinks about Sochi 2014 - thank you.

And thank you Russia for amazing show of what the spirit of humanity is!

Posted by: ProPeace | Feb 23 2014 22:56 utc | 17

@12 - brian - i am a canuck and have been wearing a red hat that says russia on it the past month, while going to public events.. obviously i don't care what others think, lol... i like russia and know there are many people, regardless the country they live in, that are not brainwashed by superficial news - something we have a lot of!

Posted by: james | Feb 23 2014 23:57 utc | 18

"dictators who persecute lgbt folk... all the lives lost & continued intolerance because of Putin"

You really have to wonder how people came to these conclusions. They go far beyond even what you might see on CNN. And I think you have to attribute it to the wild west of social media.

Social media seems to have eliminated the final gap between the self and the media. The idea that you are receiving information not from a faceless media organization but via your "friends" and your social circle (even if that includes the CNN twitter feed and you've friended HRW on Facebook) drops the barrier where people would actually apply even a rudimentary critique to what they have heard, or to apply any kind of filter before repeating something.

So we not only have social media, but the broadcasters are in on the act. WE have these shows like Oprah, "Morning Joe", "Fox and Friends". There are the other friendly, good-looking charmers such as Anderson Cooper, Rachel Maddow, and Jon Stewart who talk to their audience in a joking manner and appeal to people's sense of being on the inside - something so many people, made increasingly alone by the same media that plies them with false friendship - need desperately.

And having established these connections, the possibilities for manipulating the public are truly enormous. And I'm afraid we're only seeing the beginnings of this. It is bizarre to sit at work and here people discuss at length the goings on in North Korea, while they're blissfully unaware of what is happening in their own city.

Social media is to human relationships what pornography is to sex.

Though not about social media, there is a pretty incredible North Korean produced documentary which looks at this subject. And I have to say, it is one of the most amazingly spot-on critiques of western media and consumer culture I have ever seen. I don't know what happens in North Korea (except for, of course, wild stories that the US media repeats verbatim from South Korean tabloids) but there is no denying that they are correct in what they see happening in the west.

Posted by: guest77 | Feb 24 2014 0:47 utc | 19

I watched about 10 hours of Sochi, including luge & bobsled, ski-jumping, snowboard and speed skating and thought the timing between competitors and heats was as superbly well organised as the positioning of broadcast cameras. I couldn't help noticing that there were fewer nutjob bombings at Sochi than there were at Atlanta in 1996.

I think critics of the money spent on Olympic infrastructure are a bit too eager to forget that most of it is useful in the long term. Many of the facilities built for the 1956 Olympics in Oz were still in use, and demand, decades later.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 24 2014 1:48 utc | 20

@ Nobody, There is no such thing as sane nationalism. Nationalism by its very nature is designed to trick the masses into believing that they have a common worldview with the elites. It tricks people into thinking it is "us" against "them," all the while the real enemy is the one at home, ie, those who are in power and control the state, the elites themselves. Put differently, nationalism is a manufactured ideology to make people give allegiance to the state. It is the religion of the state.

All nationalisms eventually degenerate into jingoism and extremism. Look at the Ugly Egyptian nationalism that is now gripping Egypt. This is the same Egypt that three years ago overthrew its dictator. Now, the Egyptian people are falling over each other in support of another would be dictator. These are pretty much the same people who had united against the state, now united in support of the state.

Look at the US and the ugly manifestation of US nationalism, American Exceptionalism. Look at Israel and the Ugly manifestation of Jewish nationalism, Zionism. Look at Japanese nationalism and the tendency to downplay all the crimes that were committed against the Chinese and Korean people by the Japanese Empire. I could go on and on.

Nationalism is an ugly degenerate ideology.

Posted by: ndahi | Feb 24 2014 2:17 utc | 21

Nationalism is an ugly degenerate ideology.
Posted by: ndahi | Feb 23, 2014 9:17:25 PM | 21

Well said. All of it.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 24 2014 3:26 utc | 22

ndahi's #6 very enthusiastically seconded.

Posted by: Monolycus | Feb 24 2014 5:08 utc | 23

Viva Putin, history (true history) will call him the great. First in war, first in peace. The man can do no wrong. I hope he can channel all the positive energy into the offensive the west is carrying out in Venezuela, Ukraine and elsewhere. The world needs you Putin, the Americans are up to no damn good.

Posted by: Fernando | Feb 24 2014 5:28 utc | 24

Nationilism helped the Greeks free themselves from the Turks. Nationalists helped fight the Japanese imperialists. National pride can be good. The African NATIONAL Congress helped end apartheid. However everything taken to the severe extremes is bad, bad, bad. But there are good aspects to it, I believe we can be different and coexist. Plus Europe was so much more interesting when the countries had border controls and different currencies. It kind of bleh, now, no more romance. It's like driving through the Midwest. Those who want us all to be same are retarded.

Posted by: Fernando | Feb 24 2014 5:44 utc | 25

Dear b.

I often disagree with your thinking but this post is one reason I keep coming back to your site. I agree with you that Russian culture, music, literature, and society deserves respect. There seems to be some kind of Anglo/American prejudice against the Russians that does not make any sense. It is a cultural hatred that cannot be simply explained by big power politics or attempts by the US and Britain to maintain their hegemony (of course that cannot be denied).

In any case the Russians deserve congratulations on a well run Olympics.

Posted by: ToivoS | Feb 24 2014 10:41 utc | 26

George Orwell wrote in 'Notes on Nationalism' "The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them".

Posted by: harrylaw | Feb 24 2014 12:08 utc | 27

In response to a warning by US national security adviser Susan Rice yesterday that it would be a “grave mistake” for Russia to send troops into Ukraine, Russia has told her the advice may be better directed towards the White House, Russian news agency Interfax reports, citing a Russian foreign ministry source.

The source is quoted as saying:

We have seen the expert evaluations of Susan Rice, which are based on repeated US military interventions in multiple places around the world, especially where the US administration is of the opinion that the norms of Western democracy are in danger or ruling regimes begin too clearly ‘to get out hand’.
We consider that the current presidential adviser will give this kind of advice about the error of using force to the US leadership in the event of a decision about a new intervention.
Well said, and give them both barrels [literally] on intervention in Syria.

Posted by: harrylaw | Feb 24 2014 12:22 utc | 28


it make perfect sense
sa Duck Dodgers illustrates

Posted by: brian | Feb 24 2014 13:20 utc | 29

'n 1991, when the USSR ceased to exist, the US conducted a war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Since then America has fought four major wars against foreign nations, including the bombing campaign in Yugoslavia, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq (for the second time), and the bombing campaign in Libya. It stopped short of starting a fifth war against Syria in 2013, a move which was prevented in large part by the mediation of Russia, which convinced the Syrian government to relinquish its chemical weapons.

Washington justifies its interventions on humanitarian reasons and the obligation to depose repressive governments. Such obligations however, do not seem to apply to countries which have a poor human rights record, like Saudi Arabia, but remain American allies.'

imperial hypocrisy infects even the descendants of slaves

Posted by: brian | Feb 24 2014 13:29 utc | 30

#Ukrainian riot cops who fled Kyiv? This vid appears to be wild welcome in Crimea - "You should have killed more"

Posted by: brian | Feb 24 2014 13:56 utc | 31

I would agree, that too much Nationalism can be a bad thing, I prefer it in certain instances(see post 25) to the Corporatism now afoot globally.

An autonomous Russian nation is very important to help blunt the Empire's quest for world hegemony.

Posted by: ben | Feb 24 2014 14:55 utc | 32

Coming next to the little that does Big events.

Posted by: jo6pac | Feb 24 2014 14:57 utc | 33

Posted by: jo6pac | Feb 24 2014 15:49 utc | 34

Nothing wrong with nationalism if it means keeping yanqui fangs out of your side.

"Keep your country in your heart and the world in your mind" -Maoist Propaganda

Posted by: ruralito | Feb 24 2014 17:11 utc | 35

True nationalism is worrying about your own nation,it's adherence to its alleged ideals,and improving the lot of its citizens,ala government of the people ,by the people and for the people,and which doesn't concern itself with others business unless foreign business is detrimental to the welfare of its own people.Is Icelandic nationalism bad?Of course since TR our America has increasingly done the opposite,and today's arrogant,treacherous, lying, mendacious, neolibcon dual citizen traitor cretins have a lot of WS dough to bribe our feckless knowknothing political class idiots into the internationalism of today.Don't blame nationalism for this perverted internationalist clusterf*ck of an American government.(The only nationalism that counts today is Israeli)

Posted by: dahoit | Feb 24 2014 20:13 utc | 36

Sins of nationalism?

Might we all agree that there is a profound difference between the Nation as expressing the power and will of the people, and the State, which is at its most essential no more than a governmental apparatus. The invented word "nation-state" conflates and confuses the two. A cheap propaganda trick. David Malone of Golem IV makes the distinction beautifully:

The New World Order – Part 1. The Betrayal of the Nation

Viva Russia, a nation that has survived 75 years of communism and 8 years or so of plunder.

Posted by: Black Swan | Feb 24 2014 23:47 utc | 37

"The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them".

Certainly "Jeff" from a few threads back fits the bill.

I still can't believe that. "Can you name how many people capitalism has killed in the last hundred years?"

As we'd be racking our brains and digging through old newspapers or something.

Posted by: guest77 | Feb 25 2014 0:54 utc | 38

"Viva Russia, a nation that has survived 75 years of communism and 8 years or so of plunder."

Yes. "Survived" 75 years of communism. Not to mention surviving the most powerful invasion in all of human history followed by decades of machinations by the world's most powerful imperial state. And they did it all while at the same time securing rights for countless other countries.

What a load. As if "surviving communism" was the greatest challenge of the Russian people during those 75 years.

Posted by: guest77 | Feb 25 2014 0:58 utc | 39

@38, guest77

"What a load." You must be having a bad day. Among the external challenges to the Soviet state that you cite, one can hardly overlook the imposition of communism -- an ideology alien to Russia, funded by Wall Street jackals. See Anthony Sutton, Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution, others.

Posted by: Black Swan | Feb 25 2014 2:28 utc | 40

@39 My apologies.

There have been a trainload of people who want to come through at this important time and push the line that Communism was some monumental, horrible, tragedy, and it just doesn't hold up to honest inspection. As for it being an "alien ideology", I think this is kind of a stretch. It was early 20th Century socialism. It was modernization. The whole world was changing. There was plenty of continuation from changes that were already occurring under the Czar. There were some aspects of it that had a uniquely Russian character.

I think the idea that it was dropped on Russia from out of nowhere is, I think and scholarship shows, not correct.

As for your book, I'd have to look into it but one can't believe everything one reads.

My apologies for being crass and unfriendly.

Posted by: guest77 | Feb 25 2014 3:31 utc | 41

I did not notice any reference by the Russians to the Circassians who were driven from their homes that is now the venue of the games.. Nor did I notice one reference to the Circassian mass graves that are on the site.

Posted by: Crimean Tatars | Feb 25 2014 19:16 utc | 42

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