Cause for optimism in Moscow as momentum gathers behind bid. Does Moscow have the edge over the other candidates?
There is cause for cautious optimism in Moscow after the visit of the International Olympic Committee, which apart from expressing strong interest in Moscow's bid, provided help on how the plan could be improved.
Valery Shantsev, Deputy-Mayor of Moscow and Chairman of the 2012 Bid Committee, stated at the Press Conference yesterday that "We have thoroughly enjoyed our time with the Evaluation Commission and are grateful to them for their strong interest in Moscow and our bid as well as their guidance on how we can improve our plan".
The Deputy Mayor stated that "momentum is building behind our bid" and added that the Olympic River Concept is an "exceptional plan", which "will prove very popular with IOC Members when they come to make their choice in July". Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov is also optimistic, stating that "There is no question that Moscow would host historic, spectacular games in 2012". He described the conversations with the IOC team as "excellent", declaring that "their friendship and guidance during this week made a lasting impression on us all".
As IOC Member and Olympic champion Alexander Popov said, "No-one has any idea how my colleagues will vote" in July, when the decision is made. The five candidates (Moscow, London, Paris, New York and Madrid) have all presented strong bids and the notion is now that there are no outsiders, which means that all of these cities could have a chance.
Does Moscow have the edge?
The Olympic River Concept is a brilliant way to optimize what mother nature gave to this city: the River Moskva. All the venues will be near to the river banks and so the natural waterway can carry athletes and spectators from one venue to the next, meaning zero pressure on public transportation (which is excellent in any case) and diminishing substantially the threat of terrorist attacks on crowded, restricted spaces.
In any case, should the bid be granted to Moscow, there will be a special department with 79.000 emergency services personnel created seven years before the event. Readiness is the word.
In terms of accommodation and infra-structures, Moscow is at an advantage over the other cities, because 65% of the proposed facilities already exist. In terms of technical excellence, Moscow's long and successful history in hosting major sports events is an added bonus. Choosing Moscow as the venue for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games would be a reassurance that Russia's commitment to international peace and security, development and friendship, using the UNO as the proper forum for crisis management, has been recognized and rewarded by the international community, as mankind strives to move beyond the carrot and stick, shock and awe approach to international relations adopted by some.
Choosing Moscow for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games would bring added value to this great, thriving and exhilarating city, opening it to the main tourist circuit, which it undoubtedly deserves, and providing a framework to guarantee a lasting development in Moscow's economic and social status while at the same time Moscow and the international community would come together in an eternal embrace of friendship.
Representatives of the Israeli Defence Ministry responded to recent reports about the possible delivery of S-300 SAM systems from Russia to Syria. Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Israel would destroy those systems
Russia is to start supplying S-300 air defence systems to Syria in the near future. The shipments will be conducted free of charge