OSLO, February 12. /ITAR-TASS/. Esten Saether - editor of the Oslo-based Dagbladet newspaper, has expressed the opinion that the 2014 Sochi Olympics have proved to be a symbol of Russia's economic revival. The very fact that the Winter Olympics have been held in Sochi is the evidence that Russia as an economically strong power can afford it, the Dagbladet said, citing its editor Esten Saether.
He reminded of previous futile bids to host the Olympics which Russia - a successor to the former Soviet Union, made in 1994 and in 2000 when it was balancing on the verge of bankruptcy. But, it’s quite obvious now that in recent years under President Putin's rule the situation has noticeably changed, Saether said.
The incomes of Russian households have doubled, Russia steadily executes its budget with proficit, its foreign debt has vanished, and the volume of the Russian economy has earned it fifth place in the world ratings, the Norwegian journalist said, citing his data.
Saether, who is ironic at times, but wrote in a generally friendly tone, said that the Opening ceremony of the Olympic Games was a celebration of Russia's realization of its strength and return to the top of the international community with full historical force.
The Norwegian journalist was impressed with the route of the Olympic Torch which had traveled to space and to the North Pole, which showed what a big space Russia occupies in the world.
Commenting on the costs of the Olympic construction, Saether believes that the reasons for huge investments are quite explicable. One of Putin's most costly tasks of priority importance was the development of the Sochi region, its hotel network and tourist infrastructure with the aim to turn this region into a real paradise for Russian tourists, Saether explained. The Russian authorities seek to reverse a flow of Russian tourists, who got accustomed to vacationing abroad, and direct them back home. Now, everyone in Russia would like to go to the south of Russia for vacation, the Norwegian journalist noted. In his opinion, another goal was to create new centers of winter sport in Russia after many of them, including "Medeo" stadium near Alma-Ata, were lost after the disintegration of the former Soviet Union.