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Putin’s Games: Influence Peddling at the Feeding Troughs of Sochi

The president has used the spectacle — and the vast construction contracts involved — to secure his own power and to rid himself of rivals.

Just 18 months ago, Putin appeared weakened as a result of ballot box fraud and mass demonstrations. But now he is using the Olympic Games to present himself as a leader who can do everything. And he is using the event to consolidate his rule and shunt aside rivals. Those who serve him unconditionally are allowed to profit handsomely. Those who don’t lose his blessing.

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