The Sochi Winter Olympics, which begin next week, will forever be known as Putin's Games. However they eventually pan out, Russia's President has staked a good deal of political capital on their success -- not to mention plenty of actual capital, too -- and his legacy will ultimately be coloured by that of the project he has spearheaded from the get-go. At more than $50 billion, Putin's Games can claim to be the most expensive in history, costing five times more than original estimates, $10 billion more than Beijing, and more than all previous Winter Olympics combined. They have already won gold by a significant margin in terms of alleged corruption as well. Whether or not they become the most violent -- and terrorist attacks in Volgograd in December have raised concerns that they might -- remains an open question.
Follow Friday: @MarkGaleotti, explaining Russia and the Games
Mark Galeotti is an important voice on the Sochi Olympics, Vladimir Putin's overarching ambition and all things Russian. Crikey's Follow Friday series explains why you should add him to your feed.