Putin's Olympics Foreign Policy Goals Have Failed, Says Head of EC in Estonia ({{commentsTotal}})

Hannes Rumm, head of the EC Tallinn representation
Hannes Rumm, head of the EC Tallinn representation Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

The head of the European Commission's office in Estonia, Hannes Rumm, said that the upcoming Winter Olympic games are highly politicized, but President Vladimir Putin has failed to play out his foreign policy plan connected with them.

“If we were to compare it [the Sochi games] to Beijing 2008 in the recent past, which certainly were politicized Olympic games, then Sochi is on another level. Just as Russia centers around Putin, the Olympic games revolve around Putin,” Rumm said, speaking on ETV on Sunday.

With the Olympic games, and the 2018 football World Cup, Putin wants to show the world and Russians that the country's economy has been resurrected and that Russia is a political powerhouse, Rumm said.

But corruption suspicions have cast doubt on the capabilities of Putin's administration, he said, adding that terrorist attacks during the games could damage its reputation even further.

The jury is still out on whether Putin has succeeded in winning over the Russian population, Rumm said. He could be credited with putting on a great event, or questions about the high cost may prevail.

Former Olympic skier Ago Markvardt, who was also in the studio with Rumm during the interview, said that athletes are generally not interested in the political side of the games as they have other things on their minds, such as capitalizing on years of hard work.