Firstly, please excuse me, I am no journalist, I am writing this purely as an introduction to my esteemed friend and true journalist Ashwin Bhardwaj who will take you on a far more eloquent journey than I.

A journey to Russia, to the present, to the future, to the Olympics, gay rights, team spirit, Syria and who knows where else.

I am purely here to introduce you to why we, at Faction, have chosen to delve into the world of Russian and Olympic politics. At Faction, as our names suggests, we like to question accepted norms and find our own opinions and this is what we are seeking to do. There is a lot of controversial press regarding the Olympics in Sochi – this relatively recent article by Stephen Fry is a prime example, calling for an absolute ban on the Olympics in Sochi as a result of their laws against homosexuality and it is only the tip of the iceberg.

Our goal at Faction is first and foremost to support our athletes, who are Olympic bound, we want more than anything to seem them achieving their goals, performing on the world stage and proudly representing their countries. The Olympics is something that we can all get behind, support, be excited about, but that does not mean to say we should just sit back and say “oh well, it’s in Russia and we hear that place is not great, but what can we do.” We decided to turn that what can we do into a question. And our answer is this – learn more.

Knowledge is power and we should take this opportunity to find out what is going on – why shouldn’t we have the Olympics in Russia? Or why should we have the Olympics in Russia? What is the history of the Olympic games and politics? What’s the big deal with Russia anyway? What is their history? What is their present?

To enlighten us, and hopefully spark your interest we have asked Ashwin to research and write a series of short articles around these questions to go alongside our athletes “Road to the Olympics” blog, which will follow them as they aim for Sochi. We hope you will find this interesting and that like us you will choose to question rather than accept.

Beanie Milne-Home // Faction Marketing & Team Manager

Hello Factioneers,

And thank you, dear Beanie, for so kind an introduction. It paints me in a more flattering light than I deserve.

Some of you might have noticed Russia’s recent news coverage growing to One Direction-like proportions: granting asylum to whistle-blower Edward Snowden; arresting Pussy Riot for anti-government protests; banning the “promotion” of homosexuality within Russia; nabbing Greenpeace protesters from an oil rig in the Arctic; blocking UN Resolutions against Syria. All over the world, and in every branch of news, Putin and his chums are hitting the headlines.

Western commentators have reacted noisily. Most significantly (for us ski fans, at least) some of these commentators have gone so far as to suggest that we should boycott the Winter Olympics. But what’s really behind Russia’s actions? Why should that have any bearing on Sochi hosting the Olympics? What impact does this have on us or on the athletes who are competing?

Over the next few months, I’ll be looking at the history of the Olympics, and revealing that it’s never been just a celebration of sport, but a political and social showcase as well. I’ll also be pulling back the (iron) curtain of Russian history, to understand their recent actions and explain why the West is taking it all rather seriously.

Through this we hope to give you the knowledge you need to form your own opinions. Because, like it or not, you’ll be hearing a lot more about these controversies as we hurtle towards the slopes of Sochi.

Check out the Road To The Olympics blog series, as we explore the Olympic journey through Faction athletes: Alexi Micinski, Markus Fohr, Simon D’Artois and Natália Šlepecká.