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Sochi's Olympic security tensions explained

The militant threats and how Russia plans to protect the Games

Last Updated: Feb. 12, 2014


An explosion ripped through a tram carrying commuters in Volgograd, the day after a suicide bomber struck in the same Russian city in December 2013. All told, more than 30 people were killed.

The attacks occurred just six weeks before the start of the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, prompting the world to ask again: Will the Olympics be safe?

President Vladimir Putin has staked his reputation — and countless millions of rubles — on a "yes" answer.

Russia has vowed to create a "ring of steel" around the Games, one of the biggest security operations ever seen. It aims to protect an international event staged next to an intensely volatile region.

» CBC coverage: Sochi 2014
» External link: DFAIT Travel Advisory

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'Ring of steel' by the numbers

Sources: CBC News stories, wire reports, Stratfor Global Intelligence report

Timeline of security incidents

Important figures

Doku Umarov This Chechen warlord has urged his followers to attack the Sochi Games. Chechnya's Kremlin-backed president has made unverified claims that Umarov has been killed.
Black Widows Russian authorities have blamed the "black widows" of slain insurgents for more than 30 suicide attacks since 2001. The tactic was the creation of late Chechen insurgent Shamil Basayev, pictured.
Ruzanna Ibragimova Russian security officials say they are hunting down three potential female suicide bombers. A police letter says that one of them, Ruzanna Ibragimova, a 22-year-old widow of an Islamic militant, is at large in Sochi.
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