Russia faces security challenges at Sochi Olympics
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Stoney Creek, Canada
#1 Jun 11, 2013
Drones hovering overhead, robotic vehicles roaming Olympic venues to search for explosives, high-speed patrol boats sweeping the Black Sea coast — Russian officials say they will be using cutting-edge technology to make sure the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi will be "the safest Olympics in history."
But intelligence analysts and regional experts say 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.
The Sochi games are the first Olympics in history that are almost on the doorstep of an active insurgency whose members could potentially try to "upstage the games with some kind of attack, which would provide a kind of bad PR for the Russian government," said Matthew Henman, a senior analyst at Jane's Terrorism and Insurgency Center in London.
Potential assailants could disrupt the games even with scarce resources, he said, pointing at the recent Boston Marathon explosions, where two shrapnel-packed pressure-cooker bombs killed three people and injured more than 260 in April.
"You don't need an awful lot of expertise to create primitive but largely effective explosive devices," Henman said
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