Mother Russia tries to be sustainable, also soc(h)ially???

pic 1

General Information

The 2014 Winter Olympics or the 22nd Winter Olympics will take place from the 7th to the 23th February 2014, in Sochi, Russia. The Olympics and 2014 Paralympics are being structured and organized by the Sochi Organizing Committee (SOC), which was established on October 2, 2007 by the Russian Olympic Committee, the Federal Agency for Physical Culture and Sports, and the Administration of the City of Sochi (wikipedia.org).

pic2

 

The map above shows the location of the Russian state Krasnodar Krai (red area). Sochi which is located in Krasnodar Krai, is situated on the Black Sea coast near the border between Georgia and Russia.

Sustainability

Sustainability consists of three-pronged elements, which are the environment, the economic and social (cultural) well-being (Pedersen, Parks, Quarterman & Thibault, 2011, p.238).

Social Objectives of Sochi 2014

The Sochi Organizing Committee focuses on promoting a “healthy lifestyle” within the community of Sochi and Russia. Therefore it main focus lies on the creation of conditions to make it possible for people with disabilities to engage in sport and to develop medical support for professional sport, employees and participants of the mass events. To achieve these goals, the Sochi Organizing Committee concentrates on physical education to increase the knowledge of the importance of physical activities and to make mass sport popular. This education focuses especially on children and the youth. One of the educational purposes is to teach the youth about a healthy nutrition, and the dangers of smoking and alcohol. Moreover another committee’s stated task is to increase the physical activity of people with disabilities (http://www.sochi2014.com/en/games/strategy/sustainability/life/).

In my opinion the educational objective and the objective of focusing on the sport participation of people with disabilities are two achievable goals. It is important to implement certain physical education classes, which mainly focus on nutrition, and the positive physical and psychological outcomes of sport. Furthermore the Winter Olympics and Winter Paralympics create great opportunities for the local community of Sochi to involve people with disabilities in physical activities or jobs. It is important that the committee creates a long-termand sustainable plan of keeping people with disabilities involved in projects, jobs and sport.

The goal of creating a medical support system especially for workers and employees of the Winter Olympics Games is an unachievable objective for now. Let’s face the problems, Russia is still known as a country who forgets too many times the human rights. The violation of human rights is often mirrored by the violation of fair labor.

“Construction companies have been accused of not paying their workers, bussing in illegal laborers and taking scant care of their existing employees as Russia rushes to complete its preparations.

Last year at least 25 people died in accidents and many more were injured. The estimated 95,000 workers who have worked on the project have seen little of that £32 billion.

A Human Rights Watch report published in February found that some employers’ cheated workers out of wages, required them to work 12-hour shifts with few days off, and confiscated passports and work permits, apparently to coerce workers to remain in exploitative jobs.”

(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/winter-olympics/10416297/Sochi-Winter-Olympics-2014-rising-concerns-over-Games-mar-100-days-to-go-celebrations.html).

These examples of the work condition in Sochi indicate that corruption and unfair labor treatment is still a concern in Russia. We can hypothesize that Russia won’t solve these problems in Sochi, because Russia has to finish their projects until beginning next year and to be honest Russia won’t invest money to create better conditions for their workers because if workers complain they get laid off and another bus of migrant workers from the former Soviet Union will arrive.

Other social objectives are to develop patriotism, the feeling of national pride, maintain cultural diversity, ensuring access of cultural events, and maintaining the cultural legacy. Through the creation of certain themes for each year, for example 2013 is the year of museum; Russia explains and promotes their history and culture to their people and to their visitors. This is a great way of making people proud of their country and to achieve the goal of patriotism and national pride. Never the less Russia fails of creating diversity or cultural diversity in certain aspects. After a new federal law approved in Russia in June 2013 that bans “homosexual propaganda to minors” an important wave of criticism followed and many voices have claimed to boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sochi). This action of the Russian government clearly prohibits the diversity of different groups of people and creates a certain type of racism. Russia shows again that they are still a country who doesn’t respect human rights. With this law Russia limits their people’s freedom once again.

Economic Objectives of Sochi 2014

The goals of developing a stable economy, creating a well-working job market and to developing the city of Sochi as both a mountain climate resort and a sports center at an international level are the main economic objectives for Sochi, the Krasnodar region and all of Russia. To achieve these objectives the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee focuses on using local and regional labor resources, materials, components, and equipment. Furthermore it wants to create new jobs and train/develop local labor resources. Furthermore Sochi will get a more developed and efficient infrastructure with that is meant that modern roads and railways, new transport hubs or new gas pipes are getting built. The city of Sochi and its people will definitely profit through the projects of the Winter Olympics and it creates new job opportunities in all different kind of fields. Therefore I think the Olympics will definitely benefit Sochi and its people economically and as a community. On the other hand,

“Sochi borders Russia’s six autonomous republics of the Northern Caucasus, home of the Chechen wars and violent feuding that surfaced after the breakup of the Soviet Union and continues to date. All of the republics have severe social problems that stem from massive unemployment and bad governance. Islamist extremism and the terrorism associated with it continue to be a threat” (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/opinion-will-olympic-flame-dim-in-sochi-a-680560.html).

These problems and issues could have negative effects of the economic development of Sochi’s region. It is hard for me to imagine that expressions of peace, tolerance, and fairness would be held hostage to a region where these values have little meaning. Never the less this Olympic Games could be a changing point for the tensions of this region. Russia needs to find the dialog between the different groups and also invest into these regions to create a more stable and sustainable economy.

Environmental Objectives

One environmental concept is the “Green Office”. “Green” rules are in place inside Organizing Committee’s buildings. This means that plates, bowls and cups used by the Organizing Committee are all re-usable. The napkins, towels and toilet paper are all made from recycled materials (http://www.sochi2014.com/en/games/strategy/sustainability/nature/game_nature/green_office/). In my opinion that is a great move of being economical sustainable and to reduce resources and waste. Furthermore to reduce the waste, the committee developed the “Zero Waste Games”, which focuses on upgrading the system of waste treatment in Sochi and on the stimulation of separate waste collection and waste recycling. The committee also developed a concept of how to use these new waste systems in the post-games period. With that is meant that they will adapt waste treatment systems, which were formed in the period of the games delivery, to the needs of Sochi (http://www.sochi2014.com/en/games/strategy/sustainability/nature/waste/).

Moreover the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee works together with “Dow” Worldwide Partner and the Official Chemistry Company of the Olympic Games. Together they will focus on energy-efficient technologies, with improved greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions performance in the key areas of infrastructure, industry and agriculture (http://www.dow.com/sustainability/pdf/Q1SustainabilityReport2013.pdf). Through this partnership the committee wants to achieve the goal of having a minimal impact on the climate. This is an efficient and effective step of creating a long-term economic benefit to Russian economy, because these new technology methods can be used throughout Russia to improve sustainability and to protect the environment.

Conclusion

In my opinion the economic and environmental objectives are the most realistic one’s to achieve. In fact I think most of the ideas and actions will be effective and will help Sochi and its people to develop to a more sustainable city. The major concerns are the social objectives. In my opinion Russia has to enable the freedom of speech and has to realize the importance of diversity. Moreover it has to improve their way of treating workers fairly and to protect them from exploitation.

 

 

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply