Visitors to the Sochi Olympics are enthralled, residents are less so

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Carol Hills: I'm Carol Hills in for Marco Werman and this is The World. We're on the home stretch now for the Sochi Olympics. We've seen bobsleds flip and ice dancers twizzle, it's all been quite a show, and so far not the disaster that many predicted. Even members of the punk band Pussy Riot showed up this week. We've been checking in with Yekaterina Kravtsova. She's covering the games in Sochi for the Moscow Times and she says the mood there is upbeat.

Yekaterina Kravtsova: Yes, I think most of the visitors are pretty happy about what's going on here and pretty satisfied with the organization of the Olympics in general. So yes, it seems like it's going better than one thought it would be.

Hills: What about you? At the beginning were you a little skeptical, and now this far into the Olympics do you just find yourself thinking, "Hey, this is kind of fun."

Kravtsova: Probably, yes, but for me I've been working around Sochi and I've talked to ordinary people, so I was really surprised by their life here. They are not so happy about the Olympics, but this side of the Olympics is not so obvious.

Hills: What do you make of the two members of Pussy Riot coming to Sochi?

Kravtsova: They just showed that there is actually another life in Sochi, that ?? are prohibited, human rights activists are still being prosecuted during the Games, but Pussy Riot is very famous so that's why everyone pays attention to them. They grabbed all the headlines in international media as well. There are so many human rights and environmental activists here being arrested in Sochi and no one pays attention to that.

Hills: Vladimir Putin has been everywhere it seems. How is he being portrayed?

Kravtsova: As I've seen, when he was at the US hospitality house in the Olympic park, he was welcomed pretty well there. I thought people seemed to be happy to see him, so yes, he probably just tries to be a person who welcomes everyone in his country for this great sports celebration, as he wanted to show that Russia is open for everyone, every country, even for the US.

Hills: I know he visited the Netherlands hospitality house, you mentioned the US - are these kind of public appearances with Olympians, Russian Olympians but also hanging out with Olympians for other countries, is that out of the ordinary for Putin?

Kravtsova: I think, yes. Putin tries to show that he's very open and he doesn't hate anyone. He, and Russia in general, respect every country, especially at the Olympics, but I think this is pretty usual behavior for him. He's also nice with everyone publically, so it's pretty common and what we could expect from him. It's normal behavior for him.

Hills: Finally, for the people of Sochi, do you think that they are looking forward to the end of this in these last final days or are they still basking in hosting the Olympics?

Kravtsova: As I said, there are different people. Those who came to Sochi for the Olympics and some of them came, just like yesterday, for the last few days of the Olympics, trying to catch that Olympic mood. Such residents, ordinary people, they told me that they were waiting for this Olympics to be over so that their life could be normal again. They hope that after the Olympics the authorities might finally find time for them to solve the issues that arose during the preparation for the Olympics.

Hills: Yekaterina Kravtsova has been covering the Games in Sochi for the Moscow Times, thanks very much Yekaterina.

Kravtsova: Thank you, bye.