Russia has identified the two suicide bombers who killed 34 people in Volgograd last month and made several other arrests related to the crimes as athletes and fans prepare to arrive in Sochi next week. Asker Samedov and Suleyman Magomedov, members of a terrorist group based in the south Russian region of Dagestan, have been identified as the culprits of the twin bombings in the city just a few hundred miles from the site of the Winter Olympics. Russia's National Anti-Terrorist Committee also said that it arrested two alleged accomplices of the attackers.
The country deployed about 50,000 military and police to the region following the twin attacks as part of its enormous Olympic security operation. In addition to the Volgograd attacks, Islamic extremists based in the region have threatened to send a "present" to the Sochi Games unless the Olympics are cancelled. The Sochi security questions prompted U.S. security officials to advise American athletes against wearing their Team USA gear — or even red, white, and blue — outside of the actual Olympic venues.
Terrorism isn't the only problem plaguing the Games that haven't even begun yet. It will be the most expensive Olympics in history, a subject that prompted the country's secondary crack-down on those who talk about the allegedly rampant corruption surrounding them. Valery Morozov, a Russian businessman, fled the country after being told he would be "drowned in blood" for exposing the questionable business practices that are apparently routine for the Sochi Games.
Here's CBS with more on the whistleblower:
Local Olympic organizers told him to add about $30 million to his bill for various Sochi construction projects, and then pay that money back to them as kickbacks. "The only one reason for this was their pockets," Morozov said. "There was only one reason." Morozov rebuilt some of the crumbling facilities of the old Sochi resort. The kickbacks, he said, followed a familiar formula. The kickback was about 40 percent of the total contract.
In all, Russia has spent over $50 billion to put on the 2014 Games, but who knows how much of that actually ended up lining people pockets. That's quite an accomplishment for a Winter Olympics, as the winter event is usually a much smaller affair than the Summer Games. Details of the alleged corruption that helped to drive up Sochi's cost are so plentiful that Russian activist Alexei Navalny was able to make a big, friendly-looking multi-lingual database of all the different eyebrow-raising details.
And that doesn't even get into the Olympics themselves, which have a history of questionable decisions made by questionable characters. ABC News reports that one of the men who was instrumental in securing the Games for Sochi "is one of the four or five most important people in the heroin trade in the world," and currently hiding in Dubai because he's wanted on drug charges in Uzbekistan. Yet the Games will go on.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.