Thursday Linkage: Sochi Winter Olympics Edition

6 February 2014, 2309 EST

This Duck spent the day in the car en route to the Brazilian consulate in Houston to get visas for a summer field course so I’m running behind in my linkage for the week. In the car, I had the amazing experience of listening to an audioversion of The Idealist, Nina Munk’s magisterial account of Jeff Sachs and the Millennium Villages Project. I’m moderating a conversation with Ms. Munk on Monday. For those of you who follow debates in international development, I found her take on Sachs to be quite measured, far more nuanced than the media accounts I had read. At times, I found myself admiring Sachs and at other times was amazed by his naivete. Throughout, I was enthralled by the access Munk had to pull off the enterprise. I’ll have more to say about it after Monday…

In the meantime, the Winter Olympics have started! Here is some news to accompany what promises to be a weird sporting event, given the live tweets of journalists who found their rooms in disarray, the campaign to kill stray dogs, a blockade on U.S. yogurt, the anti-gay laws, and the specter of terrorism. On top of that, the U.S. ambassador to Russia announced that he is done after Sochi. More curious, a call by the Deputy Undersecretary of State and  the U.S. ambassador to the Ukraine was leaked on YouTube. At least the skiing and snowboarding tonight was fantastic.

  • Unhappy journalists – Journalists arrive in Sochi to no running water, no door knobs, no plugs, stray dogs in the hotel, and issue a series of arch tweets
  • Save the stray dogs! – Reports of a massive campaign to kill stray dogs in Sochi triggers last ditch effort to save them. Many of those dogs were let loose after their owners’ yards were bulldozed in advance of the Olympics
  • Shadow of terrorism – Still worries terrorism may haunt the games. Let’s hope not.
  • Google  – Google lays down a marker on Russia’s anti-gay laws
  • Free the yogurt – U.S. team is sponsored by Chobani yogurt but their yogurt fix is being held up in New York as it lacks the necessary paperwork to be delivered Chuck Schumer weights in
  • Bye bye Russia – Michael McFaul, U.S. Ambassador to Russia, announces his resignation after two years to spend more time with family. He oversaw a difficult time with Russia, as tensions increased over Snowden’s presence, USAID being kicked out of the country, a ban on adoptions from Russia.
  • F–k the EU – An intercepted phone call was leaked on to Youtube between Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State and Geoffrey Pyatt, U.S. ambassador to the Ukraine. At one point, Nuland says “Fuck the EU” for their lack of help in resolving the Ukraine crisis. The two discuss the opposition in Ukraine and whether the boxer Vitali Klitschko should go into government. Russia may be responsible for the release, having tweeted the Youtube video.