Safety of 2014 Olympics

3177002_lBack to Back Bombings in Volgograd Cast Doubt on Safety of 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

A least 31 people have been killed, and over 60 injured, in two linked suicide bombings which occurred less than 24 hours apart in Volgograd, Russia, on December 29th an 30th. Although 400 miles away from Sochi, Volgograd, formerly known as Stalingrad, is a main transit point for travel to Sochi by train, and a key transport hub for southern Russia. Now some are questioning whether adequate security is even possible for athletes and spectators at the Winter Games.

Motive for Bombings Uncertain at this Time

Although no one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks on the train station or the trolley bus, in July, 2013, Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov called on Islamist militants in Russia’s North Caucasus to “do their utmost to derail” the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

Russian authorities say they have already implemented the most extensive security measures ever take at an international sports event and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) says it has “confidence in the Russian authorities to deliver safe and secure Games in Sochi.”

Advice for Travelers

While the Games are likely to be very secure, areas outside of the games are a different story. The biggest danger may lie in travel to Sochi from international airports. Olympic tourists are advised to avoid rail travel between Moscow and Sochi, and to avoid mass gatherings outside of the Games’ venues. Hotels, restaurants, night clubs, bars, and anywhere that tourists are likely to spend their spend time may be potential targets for terrorists.

Flying directly into Sochi requires taking a private plane or chartered flight. If you go to Sochi, you will be require to carry a special spectator pass, which requires a background check.

Here is a link to the State Department’s Travel Site, which includes travel warnings and alerts –