Much has changed for Central Asia and the South Caucasus since 1980, when Moscow hosted the summer Olympic Games. In this Q&A, EurasiaNet.org takes a look at what the Sochi Winter Olympics mean for the post-Soviet countries of Central Asia and the South Caucasus.
1. Who is taking part in the Games, and, for those countries staying away, what's the reason?
Although only Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have won medals in a Winter Olympics, most Central Asian and the Caucasian states (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) are sending athletes to Sochi – even if it comes down to sending only one athlete, or recruiting them from abroad.
Turkmenistan is not represented in Sochi. In 2011, a $185-million winter-sports complex was opened in the capital, Ashgabat, but, to date, Turkmenistan has never sent a competitor to a Winter Games.
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Elizabeth Owen is EurasiaNet.org's Caucasus news editor in Tbilisi. Paul Bartlett is an Almaty-based freelance writer.