Vancouver Olympics spending scandal: How much does a Russian breakfast cost?
A report by the Russian parliament's Audit Chamber alleges the sports minister spent 12 times his official limit for hotel expenses and $4,500 on breakfasts during the Vancouver Olympics. His job could be in jeopardy.
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The Sochi Games, the pet project of former president and current prime minister Vladimir Putin, have cost the Russian government $12 billion and become the subject of a bitter and growing bureaucratic battle for influence.Skip to next paragraph
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"After Vancouver, President Medvedev criticized Mutko, who is a member of Prime Minister Putin's team," says Andrei Kolesnikov, an independent political journalist. "But Mutko did not resign at that time. Now, we're seeing another attempt."
Friends in high places
Experts say Mutko has strong protection, and even the allegations of overspending may not be enough to overturn him.
"What the Audit Chamber reported has always been common knowledge in sports circles, and after Vancouver it was obvious that some sort of shakeup would have to take place," says Pavel Salin, an expert with the independent Center for Political Trends in Moscow. "But it is yet to be seen whether Mutko is capable of defending himself."
The Russian public, which has little say in the outcome of inner-Kremlin battles, has apparently already made up its mind about Mutko.
According to a late June survey by the state-run VTsIOM public opinion agency, Mutko had a 31 percent disapproval rating, which put him in second place for the country's least popular government minister, after Education Minister Andrei Fursenko, who was disliked by 37 percent.
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