The Kremlin, determined to hold the Olympic Games in Moscow in July, has sharpened its criticism of President Carter and pushes ahead with detailed preparations, from new street signs to special buses equipped with television sets.
The Soviet message is, in effect: "We will be ready. All who value the Olympic movement will come. As for President Carter, he simply wants to be re-elected and is playing politics with the games."
The most authoritative reply yet to the US boycott campaign came in Pravda March 18, in a long, unsigned, but clearly authoritative commentary headlined, "The Price of Ambition."
Appearing just after the vote in favor of a boycott in the British House of Commons, and during a meeting of 12 nations in Geneva examining sites for an alternative Olympics, the article took the offensive against Washington, saying the boycott move was the result of "short-term considerations of the Carter political center."
Meanwhile, the Moscow Olympic committee says that as matters now stand, no American correspondents (except for Associated Press and United Press International news agencies) will be accredited to write about the games.
At the Olympic press center in Moscow March 18, a senior official said the rules of the International Olympic Committee stated that only correspondents whose countries participated in the games could be accredited.
Two buses recently took Western newsmen on a tour of some Olympic sites. Although the buses lost their way for an hour, the point came across: "The games are on target."
The Soviet press announces new kinds of preparations every day. Parking sites are being built for 6,200 new buses. Some 200 signs with Olympic pictographs on them are being put up in Moscow. Buses with TV sets will take athletes to and from the Olympic village.
The Pravda article summed up official anger here at the boycott movement. It accused Washington of using "rude pressure and blackmail" against "whole countries, governments, and individual athletes."
Pravda condemned efforts by White House aide Lloyd Cutler to organize an alternative Olympics. It said the aim was to undermine detente itself. World sportsmen wanted the games, but some US politicians wanted to "wreck" the Olympics for Mr. Carter's "personal ambitions."