Sochi Olympics: As the world departs, clean up begins

Many Russians give all credit to Putin.

“Good for him, our president. He built all this, developed all this. We didn’t have this kind of resort before,” said Sergei Lesnikov, a 54-year-old hockey coach from the city of Kirov. “”After the Olympics it will remain. … Tell your friends and family to come and see it here. It’s not so bad.”

And Russia itself? Though the memorable images of the Sochi Games include Cossack militiamen beating young women activists, the overall impression is one of competence, optimism — and, of course, athletic prowess.

The country’s deputy prime minister, Dmitry Kozak, paints a rosy picture of today’s Russia — and tomorrow’s: “The games have turned our country, its culture and the people into something that is a lot closer and more appealing and understandable for the rest of the world.”

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