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Homes razed to make way for Russia's Olympics showcase

Artur Levedev / sochinskie-novosti.ru / Reuters

Tatyana Samokhval, left, daughter of local resident Sergei Khlystov, embraces her crying mother Valentina Khlystova in front of their partially demolished house in the Black Sea city of Sochi, Russia. The workers arrived at Sergei Khlystov's gate on a Friday evening to bulldoze his home and clear a path for sewage pipes to the Olympic village being built in the Russian city of Sochi. Khlystov and his 33-year-old son-in-law, Maxim Samokhval, at first tried to block the bulldozers but then stood aside and watched as the two-storey house was destroyed. The earthmovers ended Khlystov's battle to stay in his house, one of the last razed in the Mirny neighbourhood to make way for the Winter Olympics in 2014. Picture taken Sept. 19.

For President Vladimir Putin, the Games are a prestige project that will allow him to showcase Russia's ability to organize major events and boost its international image.

He regards the event as an important element of his new presidential term as well as a chance for the country, which will also host the 2018 World Cup soccer finals, to show off its sporting prowess.

New homes are being provided for Sochi residents displaced by the reconstruction of their town. But such is the importance attached to the Olympic project that people who don't want to move have no option but to get out of the way of the bulldozers.

-- Reported by Reuters

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Artur Levedev / sochinskie-novosti.ru / Reuters

An excavator demolishes a house, owned by the Khlystov family, in the Black Sea city of Sochi, Russia.