Sochi Olympics: a Crisis Waiting to Happen, According to Leading Crisis Management Expert

Berlin 1936 and Sochi 2014: striking similarities, according to Steven Fink, President and CEO, Lexicon Communications Corp., a leading crisis management firm.

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"Berlin 1936 and Sochi 2014 have striking similarities," said Steven Fink, President and CEO, Lexicon Communications. "Two repressive regimes showing the world a false face while hiding their real one."

(PRWEB) February 07, 2014

News media reports; 15 signs that Russia is not very ready for the Olympics (ABCNews.com Feb. 6, 2014; WashingtonPost.com Feb. 6, 2014; etc.) emanating from Sochi a mere 24-hours before the games officially begin give every indication that the games will present Russian officials with crisis after crisis. Simply put, Sochi is not ready to host the world or its athletes, according to crisis management expert, Steven Fink, president and CEO of Los Angeles-based Lexicon Communications Corp., the nation's oldest crisis management firm.

“Berlin 1936 and Sochi 2014 have striking similarities: two repressive regimes under dictatorial or dictatorial-like rule, freeing prisoners before the games for show and trying to give a false impression that all is well in their respective countries,” said Fink. “We know what happened in Germany after their games and it’s likely Russia will crack down hard on dissidents after the public and the media depart, too. A major difference is the infrastructure was ready before the games began in Berlin; not so in Russia.”

Sochi already has a couple of black eyes, compliments of the world’s media who lost no time in tweeting disturbing photos of a city in construction chaos. From unfinished hotels, dangerous athletic venues, brown drinking water, stern warnings not to wash faces with contaminated water – to say nothing of real-world terrorism threats – these Olympics show every sign of going down in history as one of the worst, or at least, most problematic. And the Russians are not properly wired for effective crisis management."

As crises arise, the Russian mindset will be to clam up rather than open up, Fink says. Fink learned firsthand how the Russians deal with crises and secrecy during the Chernobyl crisis. “Faced with a life threatening crisis, the Russians’ go-to response was deny, deny, deny,” he said. “I advised them at the time to be more forthcoming, especially since human lives were at risk. The Russians, however, chose to go a ‘different way.’”

They denied outside help then and they are turning down offers of assistance now, too. What they are likely to experience could have been avoided, Fink says, "but to the Russians, asking for help is tantamount to admitting defeat."

The first time a crisis occurs, the Russians will throw up a best face defense, while trying to fool the uncensored reporters who will expose them. Faced with ridicule over these games, there is every chance that President Vladimir Putin will try to browbeat dissenting stories into submission.


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