Postcard: Sochi

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OUT BEFORE THEY'RE IN: Residents stand to lose newly built properties to the state at firesale prices

Alexander Koval, 46, figured his boarding house for a gold mine. The two-storied building with 23 double rooms is only a short walk from the Black Sea coast in Nizhneimeretinskaya Bukhta, a town just 28 miles (45 km) down the shoreline from Sochi — the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics. But Koval's reckoning of future wealth turned sour early this year when it started looking as if a government decree requisitioning his property for Olympic development could render his home and source of income all but worthless. "The prospect of confiscation has killed the real estate market in the...

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