In 2011, then-President Dmitri Medvedev described Northern Caucasus Resorts as an endeavor to “show how we can beat poverty and terrorism with tourism.” The project aims to piggy-back on the anticipated spectacle of the Sochi Olympics, which aims to accentuate all that is attractive in Russia’s southwest corner, while concealing anything undesirable.

The dismissal of [Chairman of Northern Caucasus Resorts] had the added consequence of throwing the corporate structure of Northern Caucasus Resorts into turmoil, further damaging its appeal to outside investors. That may be Putin’s intention. The tourism project is viewed as Medvedev’s creation, and its downfall would be a vehicle for Putin to reassert his political dominance over the former president.

Photo Credit: In this Wednesday, Jan, 2, 2008 file photo Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, listens to the state-controlled natural gas monopoly Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller as they tour the newly opened alpine ski center that will be used in the 2014 Olympics at Krasnaya Polyana in the southern Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi. RIA Novosti / AP Photo