Olympic Spirit, Russian Style

In its 39,000-mile relay,  the longest in the history of the Games, the Sochi-2014 Olympic torch has seen places no Olympic flame has seen before, from the tip of the North Pole to the heights of cosmos and now to the depth of Lake Baikal.

Situated in south-east Siberia, the 3.15-million-ha Lake Baikal is the oldest (25 million years) and deepest (1,700 m) lake in the world. It contains 20% of the world’s total unfrozen freshwater reserve.

Known as the ‘Galapagos of Russia’, its age and isolation have produced one of the world’s richest and most unusual freshwater faunas, which is of exceptional value to evolutionary science.

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By the most part, ordinary Russians and, perhaps, a few extraordinary ones, were not amused.

Pic. by Riccardo Boscolo. Extraordinary Russian?

Pic. by Riccardo Boscolo. Extraordinary Russian?

From those comments it’s obvious that most don’t even try faking enthusiasm. Except, naturally, those who either “choreographed” of “acted” in the show.

The ceremony resembled the “performance of a divine service,” gushed  Nikolay Rybachenko, the diver who took the burning torch to the bottom of the lake.

Ungrateful masses, instead of happily salivating over the excellent spectacle, what do they do? They grumble, complain, smirk and harp. They throw eloquent tantrum about the government’s priorities. They ask how much money was spent to finance this expensively designed cheap circus. And they write obscenities. Some, in not so uncertain terms, suggest where else their “choreographers-bureaucrats” can send the stupid torch.

Let me tell you, these places are both near and far, and naming the exact destination wouldn’t stand the scrutiny of linguistic purists. You know, like… No, I better not. It might loose its effect in translation.

Yep, cynical people they are, those Russians. Not quite as easily distracted by divine services as it was hoped for, at least those of them who cared to comment on the subject of an amazing show being staged on their behalf for the world to see.

Well, what is there to say? Some old tricks just simply stop working sometimes. Go and figure. You can fool them, masses, once, twice… You can fool them a million time, but one day they might simply write a million comments and tell you exactly what they think of you, the torch and everything…

Lake Baikal, however, is really and truly gorgeous place. Take a look at some images of the  ‘Galapagos of Russia’ here.


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