Are the Olympics & President Putin Ecologically Destroying Sochi, Russia?

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sochi destruction
Where forests once stood now stand Olympic stadiums

“It’s hard to say in one word how this makes me feel,” she said.  “I want to be a giant and take all the buildings and trucks and break them.” She made a snapping motion with her hands. “It is horrible to make such things with nature.” – Maria Reneva, Russian Geographical Society scientific secretary in Sochi/Outside Magazine

Outside Magazine has written a long, detailed, telling piece about the destruction and construction that Sochi, Russia, under Russian President Vladimir Putin’s hand, has sustained.  We’ve pulled out the best quotes from the article to help you understand the enormous changes that Sochi has gone through in recent years.  Many consider what has happened to Sochi an environmental disaster.

map of sochi
Sochi map

Soon the news would trickle out that Russia had set up a surveillance system in Sochi that would monitor every tweet, e-mail, and phone call made by visitors during the Olympics. – Outside Magazine


Stalin wouldn’t have let this happen because it’s ruining the city.” – Tour guide at Stalin’s old dacha near Sochi/Outside Magazine


“We say this area is like Oman,” Maria said. “It has become like a desert, with no trees.” – Maria Reneva/Outside Magazine

construction at sochi
Sochi construction

Moonglade [a private presidential ski resort and dacha near Sochi] was one of 20 palaces and country cottages that Putin had available for his personal use, along with four yachts, 15 helicopters, and 43 aircraft. – Outside Magazine


When we got to what remained of the wetland, Maria and Yulia said nothing. They didn’t need to. A series of barren ponds marked the intersection of two mud tracks plied by a steady rush of trucks. Their banks were littered with plastic bottles, construction debris, and piles of slash wood. A stray dog stood next to two portable toilets, and next to the toilets were two signs, one in Russian, one in English, that declared this apocalyptic scene the NATURAL ORNITHOLOGICAL PARK IMERETINSKAYA LOWLAND. – Outside Magazine

It appears the ecologically, Sochi, Russia has taken an Olympic sized beating.

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