— Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy (via cameronwolfe)
I would like to preface this by saying that I am not writing it to justify what has gone on in the construction of Sochi—specifically, the treatment of migrants and locals, to say nothing of the rampant corruption on which these Games were built (none of which has gotten sufficient international attention, in my opinion). There is plenty to criticize about Sochi. There is plenty to criticize about Russia.
I watched the Opening Ceremonies with some people in my College today. The Opening Ceremonies were, I thought, largely despite myself (see the above paragraph), beautiful. There was the construction of Petersburg. There was War and Peace. There was the romanticized aesthetic of the late Soviet period as seen in Москва Слезам не Верит
(Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears). There was Swan Lake. There was strength. There was idiosyncrasy. There was so much that makes Russia the beautiful enigma that it is.
But there was no World War II. And there were no purges. There was no Stalin. There was no dissolution of the Soviet Union. And some of the people with whom I was watching were making fun of that, and of Russia, for it.
This is propaganda, someone said.