According not only to a tradition, but also to a treaty forged on a bronze discus a long time ago, the Olympic Games were a time when all states declared a ceasefire and all the competitors were safe. But that was in the ancient times. Looking at modern history, there is no point fooling oneself that the world will constrain itself from fighting, especially when the Caucasian terrorist leader, Umarov, has called on his brothers in faith to increase attacks to sabotage the Olympics in Sochi. All this makes us think about this not only as a sporting event.
The honourable body who have chosen Sochi for these Olympics surely did not pay attention to the geopolitical situation in this region. Some of the local people, especially those striving to create the Northern Caucasus Emirate, claim that the Olympics are going to be a “devilish dance on our ancestors’ graves.” Having said that, there are so many ethnic groups laying claims to said lands and blaming Moscow for it, that it is clear why the “melting pot” expression fits perfectly.
The key questions arises then: Who is to control this pot? Is Spetsnaz the answer?
Many times I have read about their combat training and experience. I must admit very often I was surprised by what I heard, and this is why. My entire combat training focused on hostage rescue. Are Russian antiterrorists taught in the same way?
One of the Spetsnaz officers said: “During an operation, we do not take prisoners. We shoot to kill.” I am not familiar with their methods of training, however, based on this statement and the knowledge about the type of operations they conduct, my picture of a Russian antiterrorist is a person trained to kill the enemy, not to save the hostage.
It’s a subtle difference, yet some might think it is the same thing. No, it isn’t. What’s crucial here is a need for mental change. I fear that this change has not happened in the East yet, and what one of the Russian film heroes once said is still true – “nas mnoga” (famous Russian “There are plenty of us”).
There are a lot of questions concerning security that remain unanswered because the Sochi organisers claim they are bound to secrecy. I can understand that. However, there is one question I can answer. Will the Russians ask for a foreign special forces backup during a terrorist attack? I’ll answer it by asking a question.
Would we let the Russians do a combat operation during the EURO 2012 in Warsaw? What is possible, though, (and I believe it takes place) is intelligence exchange. Because the aim is simply not allow the attack to happen.
What I’m worried about is the fact that, until the very last moment, the sport venues in Sochi won’t be finished. When we were preparing for the EURO Football Cup in Poland, we paid special attention to the layouts of the stations, hotels and the rest of the infrastructure.
I am afraid there might not be enough time in Sochi for the antiterrorists to really get to know the places they might operate in. During an operation, it’s important to move around swiftly and not to think about getting lost in a complex construction. For professionals, there is no room for improvisations and leaving anything to chance, and hearing that surface-to-air missiles have been placed around the city and only guests with permits will be able to get in doesn’t make me feel calmer.
Let us hope that the Olympic Games won’t become a battlefield for the people of Caucasus and their enemy – Russia.
(Featured Image Courtesy: Reuters)