The opening ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics is on February 7, but security issues remain at the top of the agenda.
U.S. officials have said they discussed
the recent increase in terrorist threats against the Games with their Russian counterparts, as Russian forces hunt for Islamic militants and "black widows"
and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told CNN
that the security issues facing the Sochi Games are no greater than for other Olympics (a sentiment echoed by renown terrorism expert, actor Steven Seagal
In our second "Sochi in the Spotlight
" Google+ Hangout, RFE/RL Russian Service journalists Irina Lagunina and Anastasia Kirilenko will be joined by journalists and Russian security experts Andrei Soldatov and Mark Galeotti for a discussion how security concerns at the Sochi Games are being addressed. The Hangout will be moderated by Brian Whitmore, author of RFE/RL's "The Power Vertical
Andrei Soldatov -- Investigative journalist and editor of Agentura.ru, an information hub on intelligence agencies. Soldatov has worked for numerous Russian media outlets including "Izvestia," "Versia" (where he investigated the FSB's role in the Nord-Ost theater attack), "Moscow News," Ekho Moskvy, "Novaya gazeta," and "Yezhednevny zhurnal." Soldatov is the author (most recently, with Borogan) of "The New Nobility: The Restoration of Russia's Security State and the Enduring Legacy of the KGB."
Mark Galeotti -- Professor at New York University, expert on Russia's security services, and author of the blog "In Moscow's Shadows." Educated at Cambridge University and the London School of Economics, Galeotti is now Clinical Professor of Global Affairs at New York University's Center for Global Affairs and an associate member of NYU's history and Russian & Slavic studies departments. Until 2008, he was head of the history department at Keele University in the U.K. as well as director of its Organised Russian & Eurasian Crime Research Unit.
Irina Lagunina -- Director of RFE/RL's Russian Service, Radio Svoboda, where she previously served as a Senior Broadcaster and host of the daily analytical radio journal "Time & World." Prior to joining RFE/RL in 1995, Lagunina worked as the foreign policy and diplomatic editor for the Russian magazine "New Times" and the "Moscow News." She was in the media pool of the Russian Foreign Ministry, covering the end of Soviet invasion in Afghanistan, wars in the former Yugoslavia, and ethnic conflicts in former Soviet Union. She also contributed to the 1999 study "Kosovo News & Propaganda War" by the International Press Institute in Vienna, Austria.
Anastasia Kirilenko -- Correspondent with RFE/RL's Moscow bureau, where she has worked since 2009, and is the author of several investigative reports, most recently about the Sochi Olympic games. Kirilenko has an MA in Journalism from Moscow State University and graduated from the Faculty of International Relations and Law at Novosibirsk State University of Economics and Management in 2006. She has also contributed to the online platforms "Caucasian Knot" and "Courrier international."
Brian Whitmore, Moderator -- Europe Desk Editor for RFE/RL's Central Newsroom and the writer of "The Power Vertical" blog.
We invite you to post questions in advance and follow updates for live links to the Google+ Hangout on Twitter and Facebook.