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SBD Global/June 12, 2013/Olympics

Russian Officials Hope Technology Drives Security That Will Keep Sochi Olympics Safe

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Russian officials said that they "will be using cutting-edge technology" to make sure the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi will be "the safest Olympics in history," according to Isachenkov & Venyavsky of the AP. This includes drones, robotic vehicles roaming Olympic venues to search for explosives "and high-speed patrol boats sweeping the Black Sea coast." However, intelligence analysts and regional experts said that an Islamic insurgency raging across the North Caucasus mountains that tower over the seaside resort of Sochi "presents daunting threats." Despite the deployment of tens of thousands of Russian troops, police officers and private guards equipped with high-tech gadgetry, the simmering unrest in the Caucasus "could put President Vladimir Putin's pet project at risk." Jane's Terrorism & Insurgency Center Senior Analyst Matthew Henman said that potential assailants "could disrupt the games even with scarce resources," pointing at the recent Boston Marathon explosions. Henman: "You don't need an awful lot of expertise to create primitive, but largely effective explosive devices." Police, security and medical personnel in Sochi "have conducted dozens of drills to train for potential threats." Security "always has been tight in Sochi, where Putin has a presidential residence." The government "has further beefed up security" before the Games, which begin Feb. 7. It has deployed 25,000 police officers and thousands of other military and security personnel to protect the city, patrol Olympic facilities, screen incoming vehicles and X-ray construction materials for explosives. The government "also has spent big on security equipment" (AP, 6/11).
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