MOSCOW, October 23 (RIA Novosti)
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Sochi 2014 organizers celebrated 500 days until the Russian city hosts the Paralympic Games with the launch Tuesday of an online map that locates facilities for disabled people across the whole country.
The date came without the fanfare last month of 500 days until the 2014 Olympics, which saw thousands of volunteers stage elaborate displays in cities across Russia.
An event in Sochi saw locals meet Paralympic athletes and try their hand at Paralympic sports including sled hockey and wheelchair curling.
The “Access Map” website shows buildings equipped with facilities for disabled people across Russia, where basic infrastructure such as wheelchair ramps and accessible lifts is often lacking.
The site allows users to update it with by adding accessible buildings they have encountered.
“Thanks to the ‘Access Map,’ a lot of people with disabilities will be able to take part in sport. I’m sure that now they will be able to leave the house more often,” six-time gold medal-winning Paralympic skier Sergei Shilov said on the Sochi 2014 website.
So far, the site is missing many of Russia’s largest cities and features just two buildings in the Olympic city of Sochi, one of them the offices of the organizing committee.
The 2014 Paralympics run March 7-16.
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The British experience can be instructive for Russia. London retains its British Commonwealth if it wants to use this as a foundation for integration in the future. That’s a valuable lesson for Russian experts who are calling for an end to “ineffective” associations like the CIS, the Russian World and others.