• SHARE

The last time Russia’s paramount leader, Vladimir Putin, attended the opening ceremony for the Olympic Games in Beijing, the logistics went smoothly enough and the pageantry was world class, though distressing reports of Moscow’s invasion of Georgia distracted from an otherwise good show.

Fighting had broken out on Aug. 1, 2008, between Russian-backed separatists and Georgian government forces, but Russia’s air force did not commence attacks until the eighth day of the eighth month, just as the Olympics were opening on a date deemed auspicious by the Chinese hosts. A poker-faced Putin sat down in his VIP box in Beijing’s Bird’s Nest Stadium for the lavish opening ceremony choreographed by the legendary filmmaker Zhang Yimou as Russia’s military incursion into Georgia commenced and the first Russian casualties were recorded. Putin reportedly got real-time updates from the front during the festivities and rushed home soon afterward.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

PHOTO GALLERY (CLICK TO ENLARGE)