MOSCOW, February 25 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has said in a television interview that he thinks criticism of the recently concluded Sochi Winter Games was motivated by rivalry in international politics.
Many in Russia have bristled at perceived excess criticism of some aspects of preparations for the Olympics, from sometimes incomplete accommodation to the reportedly exorbitant cost of building the infrastructure.
Although the Games have been broadly hailed as a success, particularly in sporting terms for the host country, Putin’s remarks highlight the sensitivity with which Russia continues to view outside criticism.
“There is a cohort of critics that are far from sport, they are engaged in a competitive struggle in international politics,” Putin said in an interview aired Monday night. “They used this Olympic project to achieve their own objectives in the field of anti-Russian propaganda."
The Russian leader did not specify to which critics he was alluding.
Putin said Russia had worked well with constructive and friendly criticism from the International Olympic Committee, which he said enabled the country to attain high organizational standards.
Unfounded attacks on the Sochi Games suggested some detractors were afraid of seeing the ways in which Russian society has flourished, he said.
Putin said that if the Olympics have dispelled some negative attitudes toward his country, however, then they have achieved their goal.
“Maybe some of their fears have gone, at least I hope so. And if this was to some extent achieved, then this is also a success of the Olympics,” he said.