Sochi, Sochi, Sochi – yes, here comes that particular subject again, but after all, today are the opening ceremonies. Not that I care to write about those here; far more entertaining are the travails of those showing up to that “sub-tropical” town on the Black Sea coast only to confront the sad fact of how little that is tangible the equivalent of $51 billion will get you in Russia these days.
I already referred you in the last post to the excellent Twitter-feed @SochiProblems. That is already a roaring success, as we can see from the fact that 1) It already has more followers than the official @Sochi2014 feed; and 2) It has attracted a competitor, @SochiFails, which is smaller in its own follower-dom but still quite amusing and not all that redundant from what you see on @SochiProblems.
But the truly amusing development is the push-back to all these reports of “Sochi is not ready” recently offered from Russian Vice-Premier Dmitry Kozak:
That’s “Minister rejects criticism of Olympic Games hotels: We are monitoring the rooms by video.” Imagine that! Now, it’s not too long in this article that DR makes reference to its source in the Wall Street Journal, so feel free to go there to get all the details in English.
Still, even before you do that, let me give you this from that WSJ piece:
Dimitry Kozak, the deputy prime minister responsible for the Olympic preparations, seemed to reflect the view held among many Russian officials that some Western visitors are deliberately trying to sabotage Sochi’s big debut out of bias against Russia. “We have surveillance video from the hotels that shows people turn on the shower, direct the nozzle at the wall and then leave the room for the whole day,” he said. An aide then pulled a reporter away before Mr. Kozak could be questioned further on surveillance in hotel rooms. “We’re doing a tour of the media center,” the aide said.
Whew, looks like that aide got Kozak out of the way just in time before he could insert foot-in-mouth further!
A spokesman for Mr. Kozak later on Thursday said there is absolutely no surveillance in hotel rooms or bathrooms occupied by guests. He said there was surveillance on premises during construction and cleaning of Sochi’s venues and hotels and that is likely what Mr. Kozak was referencing. A senior official at a company that built a number of the hotels also said there is no such surveillance in rooms occupied by guests.
Let’s see, that last would be a “senior official at a company” whose friend-of-Putin owner certainly received lavish overpayments in exchange for delivering up this late and sub-standard performance, right? As for there being “no such surveillance,” it has long been established that any electronic means of communication anyone takes there is going to get hacked.
And then all this alleged deliberate sabotage by people hell-bent on tarnishing Sochi’s reputation! Verily, the pressure is on now and these high Russian government officials are showing their true colors.