Photo via Twitter

Let the games begin…. Well, they actually have already.
Photo via Sochi Twitter feed

IF YOU didn’t watch the ice dancing last night you missed some incredible performances. The Sochi Opening Ceremony is tonight on TV, though the reviews are already in and they’re big, with one prevailing message: “Russia is back.”

From the New York Times:

SOCHI, Russia “” With an outsize extravaganza that reached deep into the repertoire of classical music and ballet, traversed the sights and sounds of the world’s largest geopolitical expanse, soared into outer space, and swept across 400 years of history in a celebration of everything from Czarist military might to Soviet Monumentalism, a swaggering, resurgent Russia turned its Olympic aspirations into reality on Friday night.

After seven years of building to this moment “” the opening of what is reputed to be the most expensive Games in the history of global sport “” the message of the over-the-top ceremony was simply this: In a big way, Russia is back. …

As the Times opines, however, where Russia is actually headed is another matter entirely. They’ve got economic troubles, continuing human rights issues, anti-gay paranoia and prejudice in a world moving forward, and suppression of speech and freedom rampant. Then there’s the constant threat of terrorism from the aggrieved wanting revenge.

As long as the Sochi Olympic Games are on, reality can wait. That’s an order from President Vladimir Putin, who right now is king of the world.