Sochi Gets a Facelift for the Olympics

Europe’s newest hotspot is Sochi?

Well, not quite yet. But if the Kremlin has its way, Russia’s premier Black Sea resort will be competing with the south of France for the deep pockets of the well-to-do.

Sochi has long been a favorite vacation spot for the Soviet elite as well as the rank-and-file workers since Stalin himself set up a summer residence there. Putin himself continues the tradition today.

With Russia’s corrupt government, one need not inquire any further why the Kremlin is investing billions of dollars to renovate the entire city to world class standards. The reality, however, is not merely for the creature comforts of Putin. The reality is that Sochi is competing for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Huh? Isn’t this a beach resort?

Yes, it is. But drive one hour up the steep slopes of the Caucasus Mountains rising above Sochi and one can be skiing by mid-morning. Pretty cool if you ask me.