Putin kicks off security operations ahead of Winter Olympics in Sochi next month

Sochi: Security lockdown ahead of Winter games
Sochi: Security lockdown ahead of Winter games

Sochi: Security lockdown ahead of Winter games. Pic: Lite/Wikimedia

With one month to go until the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russian president Vladimir Putin was in the resort city today to officially launch a huge security operation, possibly one of the biggest in Olympic history.

More than 30,000 police and members of the armed forces are being deployed to protect against attacks by terrorists associated with the neighbouring North Caucasus region.

The nearby city of Volgograd suffered three suicide bombings in recent months, one in October on a bus and two in December which hit a railway station and a trolleybus, and in the run up to the Sochi games, Russians are bracing themselves for more attacks linked to troubles in Chechnya and Dagestan.

The significance of the attacks, apart from demonstrating the ability and commitment of terrorists to strike repeatedly within Russia, is that Volgograd lies on the main train line between Moscow and Sochi which lacks a major international airport.

In the wake of the Volgograd terrorist attacks, Washington has offered ”closer cooperation” with Russia on security for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. Russia says all measures required to make the Games safe have already been taken. http://rt.com/news/pentagon-russia-help-sochi-192/

In November, John Sawers, the head of MI6, said that British intelligence services are passing the experience they gained from the 2012 Summer Olympics in London to Russia for the Sochi Games. The confirmation that MI6 will cooperate fully with their Russian counterparts on counter-terrorism measures for Sochi comes as Moscow and London have started sharing secret intelligence for the first time in more than six years. http://rt.com/news/russia-uk-intelligence-cooperation-447/

Meanwhlie, the plans for security in Sochi appear to include two security zones: a control zone around Olympic venues to restrict access to ticket holders and authorised personnel and a forbidden zone which will control access to large parts of the city.

Additional security will be provided by an extensive network of CCTV cameras which, according to NICE Systems, is being controlled by its Safe City Solution. In addition to managing up to 1400 channels of CCTV, the Safe City Solution will also provide situation management, incident debriefing and investigation, video analytics and audio recording. Read more…

With an entire country to secure and a determined adversary just across the border from Sochi, the Russian government is going to have to run a very tight ship and have luck on its side to avoid a terrorist attack next month.

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