Taking stock after Russia topped the medals table and avoided
major security problems at its first post-Soviet Games, Putin
said constructive criticism from the International Olympic
Committee had helped make Sochi 2014 a success.
But there were other critics whose jabs were motivated by "the
competitive struggle in international politics, maybe even
"They used the Olympic project to achieve their own aims in the
area of anti-Russian propaganda," he said.
"Because when a strong competitor emerges — in this case Russia — some grow worried, some don't like it, some fear it, not
understanding how deeply Russian society has changed," Putin
said in a state TV interview, strolling in the sun in the Black
Sea resort city of Sochi.
The buildup to the Olympics was overshadowed by threats of
militant violence, an outcry over an "anti-gay propaganda" law,
allegations of corruption, complaints about the high cost of
traveling to Sochi and tweets about slapdash hotels.
Criticism abated as the Games progressed.
"The Olympics were very important for us, because it seems to me
... that they not only opened Russia's door but opened Russia's
soul, the soul of our nation — so that people looked and saw
that there is nothing to fear," Putin said.
(Writing by Steve Gutterman; editing by Robert Woodward)
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