Sochi Is Now a Ghost Town

Six months ago, with terrorism concerns abounding, Sochi, Russia, was a fortress. Today, it's a ghost town.

Russian photographer Alexander Belenkiy recently posted more than 30 photos documenting what has become of the site of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. It isn't pretty.

Image Credit: Alexander Belenkiy

Despite an estimated $50 billion poured into making the Sochi Games the most extravagant Winter Olympics in history, Russian president Vladimir Putin's hope that this "gem on Russia's Black Sea [will fulfill its] cultural and tourist potential" does not seem to have come to fruition.

Image Credit: Alexander Belenkiy

Instead, Belenkiy writes that the city "is lifeless and isn't working at even 5% of capacity." Restaurants are closed, housing developments are abandoned and tourists are nonexistent. Belenkiy says that the only people who can be seen wandering around the city appear to be locals.

Image Credit: Alexander Belenkiy

Image Credit: Alexander Belenkiy

Meanwhile, the city's famous, bizarre side-by-side toilets from the 2014 Games now seem to have found a home in an empty parking garage, broken and discarded.

Image Credit: Alexander Belenkiy

While none of this is a good sign for the city's long-term economy, the real test for Sochi will come this winter, when tourists could come to visit the nearby skiing facilities. If they don't, it could be only a matter of time before the formerly shiny facilities starts to look like those in Athens — decrepit and forgotten.


Image Credit: Alexander Belenkiy

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R.J. Rico

R.J. is a sports journalist living in New York. He has written for Sports Illustrated, NBC Sports, and The Miami Herald. He studied history at Yale University and is forever drowning in a pile of magazines.

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