Note: This post is part of a multi-part series on the status of Russian security efforts for the Olympics.  The purpose of this series is to keep SOFREP readers informed on the latest developments regarding the games as they draw closer.

In preparation for the 7-23 February 2014 Winter Games, Russia has gone to great lengths to ensure the safety and security of the athletes and spectators in attendance.  These efforts are in response to a relatively significant threat environment surrounding Sochi that has been highly publicized and called into question following back-to-back suicide bombings in the Russian city of Volgograd on 29 and 30 December.  With the “threat of international terrorism at sporting events…highlighted at [events like] the Boston Marathon”, similar concerns over the terrorist threat at Sochi are of substantial concern to Russian planners.

Sochi and Volgograd, courtesy of DailyMail


Tasked not only with the immediate security of the city of Sochi and the Olympic Park but the entire region, Russia is faced with the formidable task of controlling or at least temporarily quelling the threat of violence from a wide swath of actors possibly intent on disrupting the Games: protestors, rioters, lone wolf terrorists, militant Islamists, separatists, and others.

The majority of threats to Sochi and Russian efforts emerge from the volatile Caucasus region and any associated radical Islamist or insurgent movements, the most significant of those originating from Doku Umarov and the Islamist Caucasus Emirate, a State Department designated terrorist organization.

Caucasus Emirate 2012 violence, courtesy of Vocativ


In response to the well-established threat environment surrounding Sochi (primarily the active insurgency in the North Caucasus), Russia has compiled an unprecedented and multi-layered security force responsible for securing the Olympic Park, Sochi, the Caucasus mountains to the northeast of Sochi, the southern Russian border with Georgia and Abkhazia, and other air, land, and sea zones near the games.

Primary control and direction of Russia’s security forces at the games originates with the FSB, Russia’s primary internal security agency and successor to the KGB.   The FSB will likely prove more than capable and experienced enough to properly oversee the extensive coordination required among the various participating agencies for such a high-profile event.