(The Verge) The Sochi Winter Games are already the most expensive Olympics on record, and they're shaping up to be the most watched, as well — not by spectators or television viewers, but by the Russian government. Amid heightened security concerns and terrorist threats, Russian security forces have constructed a powerful surveillance system designed to monitor the movements and communications of virtually everyone on the ground at Sochi. The aim is to deter attacks and unrest through blanket monitoring, though there are fears that the Kremlin is going too far. […]
Dmitry Gorenburg, a senior research scientist and Russia expert at the nonprofit think-tank CNA, says the measures are likely as much about crowd control as they are counterterrorism. Amid widespread outrage over his controversial anti-gay propaganda laws and alleged human rights abuses, Putin last year announced a ban on all public demonstrations during the Olympics. He backtracked earlier this month, though demonstrators will need to receive approval from authorities ahead of time.
"They don't want any embarrassing, big political protests," says Gorenburg, who also edits the journal Problems of Post-Communism. "But they also don't want the equally embarrassing [situation of] having to repress the protests."
Read the full article © The Verge