11 February 2014
It was a winter wonderland in resplendent display. Snowy features in crystalline glitters gave ways to colorful gigantic balloons in the shapes of the famous “onion heads” characteristic of Russian Orthodox churches, punctuated by phantasmagoric sets of fireworks.
In a sense, the Winter Olympics opening ceremony at Sochi could be likened to a coming-of-age rite for a confident modern Russia, having trudged through its share of growing pains since the late 20th century.
The grand event was perhaps rendered even more meaningful by the attendance of Chinese President Xi Jinping. For two years in a row since he took up the reins of leadership, Xi has made Russia his first overseas destination, and Sochi his first international sporting-event visit. These positive gestures no doubt testified to the high degree of importance attached by the Chinese side to a revitalized Sino-Russian relationship, and are reciprocated by the warm hospitality extended by the host, Russian President Vladimir Putin.
… The author is a senior fellow with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
IDSS / RSIS / Print
Last updated on