Sochi Olympics in chaos: dog-killings, hotel room surveillance & homophobia

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The Sochi Olympics’ Opening Ceremony is tonight. Well, I’m pretty sure that the Opening Ceremony is happening right about now, but Americans won’t see it until tonight. I thought this would serve as some kind of preview, because it’s looking more and more like the Sochi Olympics are going to be a chaotic mess. #SochiProblems is trending massively on Twitter and there’s even a new Twitter account, @SochiProblems. Some stories going around:

*The hotel situation in the Olympic village is pretty rough. Hotels are unfinished, there’s no running water, or if there is water, it’s brown. All of the Olympic journalists who arrived this week have been in full revolt, and they’ve been tweeting and reporting on all of the chaos. Considering that this is the most expensive winter games ever, and that Russia has had YEARS to work this out, it’s pretty bad that things are still so unfinished.

*There’s a stray dog problem in Sochi. A problem which Russian officials made worse by KILLING THE DOGS. Now animal rights groups are trying to work overtime to save some of the animals.

*The terrorist threats are pretty extra. I hate to be so blasé about it, but OMG. Every Olympic games held in every city will have threats, but Sochi really feels like… bad things really might happen.

*The gay rights situation in Russia is really GD appalling, and Russian officials keep making it worse. Just today, a Russian deputy prime minister reiterated that gay athletes and gay family members will be safe in Russia… just as long as they don’t interact with children.

But am I just making a listicle because of my Western bias? Russia thinks so. Russians are really mad about all of the bad press:

Russian officials have fired back at the Western media for what they called “biased” criticism of the country’s preparations for the Sochi Winter Olympics, which is to kick off tonight in the Black Sea resort town.

“There is an impression that what is hiding behind the democratic principle of ‘freedom of speech,’ is not the diversity of opinion, but a well organized information war [against Russia],” Vladimir Yakunin, head of the state-run rail operator Russian Railways, said in his blog. He drew a comparison to the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics, boycotted by several Western nations, including the United States, saying that the Olympics “is being used as a powerful instrument of lobbying for the interests of those who are irritated by Russia’s successes.”

He specifically mentioned Time, The Economist and German weekly Der Spiegel as publications that have run “biased” reports on Sochi.
On Thursday, Dmitry Kozak, the deputy prime minister involved in Olympic preparations, seemed to lash out against the wave of international journalists who have been sharing Sochi horror stories on Twitter, such as photos of dirty water and missing doors in hotel rooms supplied to the press. “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 was quoted by the Wall Street Journal as saying. A journalist reportedly tried to ask the minister whether he was suggesting that there is surveillance in media hotel rooms, but was quickly pulled away by an aid.

A spokesman for Kozak later said there is no surveillance in hotel rooms or bathrooms occupied by international guests, and that the minister was referring to surveillance that was in place during construction of Sochi’s venues.

Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov ridiculed stories in the western press about which foreign leaders are planning to attend the Sochi Games — and what a snub might mean, diplomatically. “This is rubbish, nonsense,” he was quoted as saying by the ministry’s web site. “I can’t remember a single Olympic games that triggered this kind of talk — discussion of how many heads of states are to show up.”

[From THR]

Haha, letting it slip that there’s video surveillance in every hotel room. CLASSIC! THR also says that Russian officials are pissed about Google’s doodle today, which I’ve screencapped below. I kind of love how so many of the American corporate sponsors of the Olympics are all shading Russia’s homophobia. A Russian activist named Yelena Babich shaded Google pretty hard, saying that Google’s doodle was a “provocation” and that Russia is “strong, powerful.”

I’m actually kind of happy that Pres. Obama isn’t going. Here’s his message to Team USA:

google doodle

Photos courtesy of WENN.

 

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241 Responses to “Sochi Olympics in chaos: dog-killings, hotel room surveillance & homophobia”

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  1. jiji says:

    Please bear in mind that it’s not “Russians” who are mad at the bad press. Your average Russian is pretty glad that the blatant corruption and discrimination are making the news abroad. It’s only the officials who are pissed – yeah, they’re the ones responsible.

    It’s a bit like when the world makes fun of Americans for the Coca Cola “controversy” for example ; of course the dumb racist haters aren’t the majority in the USA. It makes you sad and mad that you all get lumped together – so please guys, don’t make this mistake with the poor Russians who have a lot on their plate right now.

  2. HappyMom says:

    Why, exactly, was Sochi chosen by the Olympic committee?

    • QQ says:

      Cause It’s Putin’s favorite vacay resort spot

    • Bridget says:

      The IOC is an incredibly corrupt organization, and the choice is representative of A LOT of bribes and kickbacks. Because there is literally not a single good reason to have chosen Sochi. The climate is inappropriate for the games, they had to build every single venue from scratch, they even had to build roads and rails for access to Sochi. However, that building represents an awful lot of money to be made by the parties building, hence this whole brilliant idea in the first place.

      • jane16 says:

        ^^^ What Bridget said. I knew this would be a horrible choice. Have you guys seen the snow? They have so little of it. Look at these mountains, there is only snow at the very top. They said they are ready with fake snow!?! wtf? I think they should choose a true winter resort area for the winter games, and Sochi ain’t it. Also, I don’t think countries that are constant human rights violators should get to host the games.

    • doofus says:

      I’ve been asking this since they chose it.

      $, $, and more $. someone got paid off; with all the corruption in Russia at top gov’t levels, it’s very likely.

      what was not mentioned in this story is…

      1) the dog situation was supposed to be remedied by using some of the Olympic $ to build animal shelters but instead, they’re euthanizing the dogs. where’d the money for shelters go? into some corrupt gov’t official’s pocket, I guess.

      2) the computer security is SEVERELY lacking. I read a story about one journo who wrote of his experience….within minutes of logging onto his computer, he rec’d an email that deposited a virus on his computer, phone and tablet.

      3) apparently, there is a “shortage” of international attendees/fans. as in, not nearly as many folks wanted to venture to Russia to see these games, compared with the attendance at other recent games.

      • FLORC says:

        You bid and campaign to host the Olympics. Of course it comes down to the deepest wallet!

        Russia’s corrupt practices regarding the Olympics are all coming to light. Glad no one is letting it slide.

        The dust will settle and the toursits (who came) will pack up and go leaving a huge mess that puts some venues in debt to clean up.

        And that Google Doodle is awesome! Not to mention the original Olympics was not a homophobic environment;)

      • Erinn says:

        THIS.
        On my way to work this morning I was chatting with my boss about the security. Basically if you have a phone, or computer in Sachii, it’s already hacked. The journo had just booted the computer up for the first time, and it was already hacked. And I believe it was a mac, which are running a different os than a pc, and don’t succumb to usual hacking techniques. It’s insane how fast this guy was hacked, and this isn’t the exception.

    • Dutch says:

      Putin brought the biggest pile of money to the IOC

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I agree, their choice reflects VERY poorly on the Olympic committee.

    • another nina says:

      Believe it or not, Sochi was chosen, in part, because they had the most compelling story. The country needed those Olympic stadiums because Soviet Union mostly built world-class winter stadiums in former Soviet republics such as Georgia, Armenia, etc., so Russia did not have any. Ten years ago, the situation was so desperate that they had to held Championships of Russia for short-track, etc.in Germany. Secondly, it’s been long, I thing from 1986, in the plans to develop an infrastructure in the south of Russia. In a way, Olympics was a life-saver in terms of job creations in Russia post-2008 crisis, it has added around 560,000 jobs, which is a lot, judging by local standards. Thirdly, there is a very hard situations with drugs in Russia, so bringing kids into sports can help to resolve situation…Fourthly, there are not many countries that are so enthusiastic about Olympics as Russia. I remember that during Olympics in SaltLake city, none (none!) of my American friends or colleagues watched opening ceremony. In Russia, the entire country is glued to TV during Olympics.

      • yup says:

        That is totally false. Nobody here cares THAT much.

      • cr says:

        Maybe none of your friends watched, but it was most certainly watched:

        The overall Winter Olympics champ is still the kickoff of the Salt Lake City games on February 8, 2002. In a time before smartphones, tablets and multi-platform streaming that domestic Opening Ceremony had a 25.5/42 rating and pulled in 45.6 million viewers for NBC. Salt Lake still stands as the most watched OP ever Winter or Summer Olympics, coming out ahead of the 2012 London Games which had a U.S. audience of 40.7 million.

        (from Deadline)

  3. Nev says:

    Can’t they just shut it down already?

    #homophobicFLOP

    • eliza says:

      Because that is fair to the thousands of Olympians who trained their entire lives for maybe their only chance at an Olympics?!

    • Chicagogurl says:

      I feel so bad for athletes who trained for years only to have such poor conditions. The pics I the hotels and conditions are appalling.

      • Dutch says:

        The athlete living situation seems to be more complete than those of the media/tourists. A majority of the #SochiProblems stuff seems to be coming from media members (the best being Bob Costas getting pinkeye). I’ve been to the US Olympic facility in Lake Placid and stuff like the sleeping three to a dorm room isn’t exactly new to the athletes who are based there.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        I feel bad for the athletes, especially to because of the threat of terrorism and the threats surrounding gay rights. Instead of focusing on the events, it seems there are a lot of distractions this year. I can’t imagine being an athelete and telling my parents NOT to go see me in the Olympics because you are afraid for their safety. What a position to be in!

      • L says:

        They designed the downhill ski course poorly and then sent amateur’s down to ‘test’ it before the skiers started today. Amateur’s that go 1/2 the speed as the pros, so they didn’t notice the bump at the bottom is to high. The first 3 pro riders got hurt/banged up their knees and everyone else protested before they would change the course.

        Dogs were running around the cross country course today.

        For the hockey team 3 to a room is in fact quite small.

      • Shannon1972 says:

        @L, I heard that Sean White pulled out of an event because he thought it was too dangerous. If *Sean White* is afraid for his safety, I can only imagine how bad it was.

      • another nina says:

        During the Olympic Games in Lake Placid, USA, Russian team was hosted in a local prison. I would not say that round-o’clock guards, night lights and a noise from guard dogs are very helpful when you are striving to focus on preparing for competitions. So, by all means, I believe that right now in Sochi sportsmen have much better living conditions.

      • Miss Melissa says:

        My colleagues are over there working and say that they have experience NONE of the negatives that have been reported, save for falling in love with the stray dogs. They all want to bring them home with them.

        On the contrary, they have posted photos on Facebook discussing how great their hotels are, how great the people have been and how amazing their experience has been.

        Shaun White pulled out due to safety concerns about the course, not general safety concerns. His issue is one of course design, and that was governed and blessed by his sport’s governing body. He disagrees. It’s not about shoddy Russian construction, or fear for personal safety. There is a difference.

    • Dimebox says:

      @another nina, this is not true. Yes, the accommodations for the athletes (not just the Russians) became a prison after the games, but it was not one before or during the games. There were no round the clock guards, guard dogs etc. All Olympic athlete villages are used in some capacity after the games. However, to state that any athletes were treated as prisoners is erroneous.

      • another nina says:

        I’m not implying that they were treated like prisoners, perhaps it was a measure of security at that time. Still we have to admit that conditions were far from ideal. I listened yesterday to a short interview from ice-hockey player Fetisov (he won all possible prizes in the world, including Stanley Cup, Olympic Games, etc.) Fetisov participated in that Olympic Games and I basically translated what he said.

  4. littlestar says:

    The Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, isn’t attending the Sochi Olympics either.

    • Mallory says:

      Canadians aren’t happy with Harper either since he’s a bit of right wing ideologue…

    • Erinn says:

      I get frustrated with Harper, like any other Canadian. He can be a mega-douche, but at the end of the day I don’t think he’s a downright bad person. A person who makes poor choices, and doesn’t stop to think enough.

      One thing I will say, is that before my grandfather passed, he took time to meet with him and chat with him at an event in our community. Like legitimately took interest in what he was saying, and joked around with him and took some photos. My grandfather was a well decorated WWII vet, who had served all over the world, and worked with the UN as well. He was one of many who helped carry Billy Bishop,’s casket and had met the Queen at least once or twice. But the level of happiness I saw in those pictures from Harper putting in the effort to speak and connect with him has given me a slight soft spot for the man.

    • Lee says:

      as a related aside, some other Canadian politicians have been doing some pretty cool things to show their support for LGBT people during the Olympics. The NDP MPs showed up to the house of commons yesterday with rainbow scarves, ties and pocket squares while the city hall buildings in Montreal, St. John’s, Ottawa and Vancouver raised rainbow flags to coincide with the opening ceremony and all 4 mayors say they will keep the flags up throughout the games. Vancouver and Montreal also have flags at their former Olympic sites. Meanwhile, Toronto city hall did raise a flag, but Rob Ford insists he wants it taken down. Other members of his office seem to be encouraging the rainbow flag to fly alongside the Canadian flag in spite of Ford’s position for now though.

      And for anyone who still hasn’t seen it, this video from the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion makes me smile every time I see it.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=effb2JYiKXM

  5. QQ says:

    Im living for the International shade for this sh*tshow, TBH i want every bad crazy story to come out, that said I am also hoping NOTHING bad happens as far as terrorist stuff cause Both the Georgian rebels AND The Russian gov. Seem to give zero point zero fks about hurting civilians

  6. Pers says:

    I love watching the Olympics. I am Canadian and was so thrilled with the 2010 games in Vancouver…I thought it was so beautiful and I was so proud of all the participants.

    This shitshow in Russia – I’m not watching. This will be the first Olympics in my life I don’t watch. The human rights abuses, the forcing out of people who lived in the areas Olympic buildings were to be constructed, the culling of dogs, all of it. This just shows how greedy and corrupt the IOC is and I can’t abide it. Just my $0.02.

    • Gretchen says:

      The World Cup in Brazil is also showing itself to be a total sham, thousands of indigenous peoples and other citizens have been and continue to be displaced for land takeovers. It’s such a shame because these sorts of sporting events are *supposed* to unify and show a better side of human nature etc, unfortunately they are just as rife with corruption and abuses as anything else.

    • Alita says:

      @PERS,
      I understand boycotting these games, but how could you watch China (since this is the first Olympics you’ve not watched)?

      I am genuinely asking – Russia is rightly copping flak but it feels like many (including you, hence asking) didn’t know or care or whatever it was that China has appalling abuses which in the lead up to the games actually elevated! What is it this time? Is there more media about It In the States? How did this zeitgeist evolve?

  7. Clever hand says:

    Am I the only one that feels that my kids will one day look back on this and ask me If we didn’t see disaster coming? It just feels like one of those times that all the signs of a potential tragedy are there.

    • Izzy says:

      Nope, you’re definitely not the only one. This has clusterf*** written all over it, right? I’ve always loved watching the Olympics, but I have no desire whatsoever to even watch the opening ceremonies for this one, and am just so over the IOC in general. They are a joke, and should frankly be disbanded. They’ve turned the Olympics into a joke as well.

    • Cecilia says:

      I hear you. My Niece was appointed to cover the Olympics from a marketing aspect. She called me in tears. She was terrified to go & I don’t blame her. I finally convinced her to cancel & everyone is much relieved.

    • gg says:

      Good ole Russian government – not surprising; this is what they’re famous for – oppression, greed, and doing things poorly. Just more of the same bs, only piled higher and deeper for all the cameras and reporters to document. Glad this is making the news but I feel very sorry for anyone forced to attend. Waiting for more reports of people being poisoned by the water.

  8. Jackson says:

    For some reason I feel bad for all of the crap they’re getting but it seems well-deserved. Things need to be completed and functioning, and not just to “fussy” Western standards. If I go to a hotel at the Olympics, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect clean, safe running water, both hot and cold. A safe environment. Lightbulbs. Whatever amenities were listed as being available being actually, you know, available.

    The dog situation is beyond belief there. It makes me cry. Poisoning them is reprehensible and any sympathy I might feel toward a ‘piling on’ mentality regarding the lack of readiness just withers away. I only hope some good can come of it.

  9. Ice Maiden says:

    There have been several occasions where the Olympics, or other major sports events, have been held in countries with terrible human rights records. Yet none of this bothered the Great and Good of the West. Russia certainly has some major issues, but I think it would be very very naive to think that Western politicians are staying away because of ‘concern’ over Russian human rights abuses. This is all about fear of a resurgent Russia, masquerading as ‘concern’ over homophobia.

    • Tapioca says:

      Russia isn’t “resurgent” though – their economy has stagnated and recession is widely believed to be just around the corner. And not the cushy “Western”-style recession we had either. Meanwhile the majority of Russia’s vast fuel and mineral wealth is held not by the state, but by the oligarchs – a small group of multi-billionaires who suck up to Putin to avoid being sent to a Siberian jail for a decade, as Russia’s former richest man and Putin’s political rival Mikhail Khordokovsky was.

      The gay stuff is just Putin’s way of distracting the people by uniting them against a minority group. Like Hitler blaming Germany’s problems on the Jews. And we all know how well that turned out.

      • Ice Maiden says:

        Well, no. As a political force Russia is very much asserting itself in the world at large,and providing a formidable opponent to NATO. And it’s not like most Western economies are booming either.

        As for the gay issue, you could just as easily – I would say more easily – argue that, sadly, homophobia is very common among the Russian population and is not being instigated by Putin, rather the other way round. But that’s not really my point. My point is that the boycott of these games is hypocritical in the sense that Western leaders rarely have issues with human rights violations when they’re committed by allies. The same Obama who made a point of boycotting these games is set to visit Saudi Arabia in March – a country where homosexuality is a capital crime. Political morality is a rather fluid phenonemon.

      • littlestar says:

        Not to mention how those few Russian billionaires made their money through illegal and unethical means.

      • Ice Maiden says:

        Most of them made their fortunes at the expense of the Russian people under the rule of Yeltsin, who was welcomed with open arms in Western capitals.

      • Anita0614 says:

        Tapioca, littlestar, I’m Russian and I totally agree with you, good points! As for “small group of multi-billionaires’, not exactly, meaning these are not self-made real business men. These are Putin’s friends, university class mates, ex KGP colleagues, who now have all the power. They are killing the country, billions of dollars are stolen from Russia by them and kept abroad. At the same time their families are mostly in the US or Europe, nobody of this so called ‘elite’ is having long term plans with Russia. This is just a colony that is making them extremely rich. It is heartbreaking to see what’s going on with the country in general, and with Sochi in particular. Sochi environment got a lot of damage, billions of dollars got stolen. They engaged labor force from other ex USSR republics and did not pay them, that’s why all is falling apart now or not finished. The anti-gay propaganda is nothing but a way to distract people from real problems and find an object for their anger. At the same time corrupted Russians are buying property in Florida, Cote d’Azur, London, as nobody there is asking questions about their dirty money.

      • littlestar says:

        Thanks for that info, Anita. It’s so sad to see what is happening to Russia, and extra numbing is the fact that these billionaires are basically stealing from the people and planning an escape plan for when the economy really goes bust. Hopefully one day Russia will be able to prosecute these people and taken back what was stolen from its citizens.

      • delphi says:

        These games have me incredibly conflicted. My dad is Russian (first-generation American of Russian descent, if you want to get technical), and while part of me is excited to see the history and pageantry of Russian culture on full display, the political climate in Russia makes me physically ill. The blatant political corruption, human AND animrights violations…ugh. If I was an athlete, I’d be bringing home dogs AND medals. And I’d sport one of those awesome rainbow scarves while doing it!

        And to the poster up-page who called out Ralph Lauren on those fugly sweaters, preach on, sister! My GOD, man. Where are your standards?

    • Bridget says:

      I wouldn’t say a fear of a resurgent Russia so much as the fact that Russia has been politically opposed to the US for years now at this point, as well as the fact that this stuff has been much better publicised than any of the human rights abuses leading up to the China Games (I guess that internet firewall’s good for something). Further, I would also say that its the hamhanded nature of Russia’s attempt to put on the games. This has been completely and totally bungled, and on the world stage. Had Russia gotten its act together I don’t think we’d be having nearly the same conversation about their human rights issues.

    • INeedANap says:

      I think there are fears of a resurgent Russia PRECISELY because of its human rights issues. The west fears a resurgent China, but China has gone from a full on communist dictatorship to a more socialist government. And while there are still significant issues, China has been relenting to pressure from the west. Russia, on the other hand, has been heading away from global interaction. See: Kiev, Ukraine.

      • Ice Maiden says:

        Russia heading away from global interaction? Are you serious? Russia has been building excellent relations with nations all over the world.

        And I don’t recall the West having a problem with the massive corruption, and much else besides, under the Yeltsin government. But because his policies were favourable to Western poltiical and economic interests, that was OK. It’s the fact that Putin is seeking to build an independent Russia that bothers them. The ‘human rights’ are merely an excuse – rhetoric aside, no Western country has ever built its foreign policy on ‘human rights’. None of this is to say that Putin is a great guy, just to highlight the hypocrisy over this boycott.

      • Bridget says:

        I agree with Ice Maiden on that one – Russia has absolutely been a major part of world politics. However, I disagree with the assertion that the US is unhappy with Russia seeking to create an independent nation. I would say that the unhappiness comes from the fact that Putin is blatantly trying to roll back the government to pre-Glastnost. The level of corruption within the Russian government is reaching ridiculous porportions, and as the world power that doesn’t hold a huge amount of US debt (hence the US’s light touch when it comes to China) it isn’t shocing that Russia is on the receiving end of am avalanche of criticism. Its not unique to the Games, rather the Games has given a forum for dissenters to unify around.

      • Ice Maiden says:

        Corruption was much, much worse under Yeltsin.

        I don’t recall any Western government being bothered about that. In fact, they quite liked it, as many Western companies profitted richly from the juicy contracts Yeltsin was handing out.

      • The Other Katherine says:

        IceMaiden, can you point me to a source regarding corruption levels being worse under Yeltsin? I’m genuinely curious.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      Ice Maiden, maybe you weren’t paying as close attention to the US during those other events, because the US regularly speaks out about human rights in other countries. Hillary Clinton and others spoke out about China’s record on human rights before the games in China, for example.

      I am not trying to be harsh, but to say that the US never addresses human rights in other countries and is just focused on Russia now as some kind of sabatoge is to mis-represent history.

      • Ice Maiden says:

        It’s one thing for a government to ‘speak out’ about human rights abuses. Another thing entirely to do something concrete about them.

        I don’t think a celeb site is really the place to get into international politics (yes I know I sort of started it!) but I think it’s undeniable that the US, like other countries, is quite happy to do business with – and sell weapons to – countries with terrible human rights records. But specifically, what I’m saying is that lots of major sports events have taken place in countries with very dodgy governments, with little or none of the grandstanding we’re seeing in Sochi. So I think it’s reasonable to suspect that this has little to do with concern over human rights, and a lot more to do with political alliances.

      • LadySlippers says:

        @Ice Maiden:

        The duplicity is definitely there. We tolerate A LOT from countries that are horrible human rights violators, but oil rich, while bemoaning others. For the US, it makes sense to be friendly with China (although there WAS quite a bit of noise about their human rights violations prior to Beijing) and thus, not need Russia as much.

        Essentially we (the US) sell our soul to the highest bidder, and right now, that’s the oil rich countries.

      • Ice Maiden says:

        I think we should also take into account the fact that the Winter Olympics isn’t *that* big a deal, except in a handful of countries where winter sports are very popular. If this was, say, the summer Olympics, or the World Cup, I’m not sure Western leaders would forego a free ticket, even if it meant being on the same side as the evil Putin. But because it’s only the Winter games, it’s a good opportunity for them to indulge in a bit of political theatre.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        I think that we need to recognize that there is only so much an outside country can do in regards to human rights violations. Taking “concrete” steps is a tricky thing when trying to also recognize the sovereignty of other nations.

        In Syria, for example, where the entire world knows that people are being treated horrifically, there is still only so much the US can do on its own (short of war) without cooperation from the entire global community. It should be noted that one of the BIGGEST obstacles to getting help for those being killed and tourtured in Syria, is Russia.

      • Anita0614 says:

        Ice Maiden says: “Corruption was much, much worse under Yeltsin’ – absolutely not… Russia’s income from selling oil, gas, metals was dozens times less during Yeltsin time, oil was much more cheap than it is today or was in 2000x. Russia had no money in the budget in 1998, there was a financial default in 1998. IMF was providing loans that allowed us to survive. You can’t compare that time with the years when Russia managed to pay back the debts and accumulated huge fund, again, thanks to the change of oil price on the world market (Putin has nothing to do with that. Much easier to run the country, when the income is huge, in comparison to the low income at Yeltsin time). Now, with all the money coming from oil, gas, metals trade, are pensioners getting 10 times higher pensions? No. Social benefits are getting smaller, hospitals get closed, education becomes less and less accessible. The number of policemen, bureaucrats increased tremendously, their appetite for small and average businesses is huge (at Yeltsin time, they wanted a share, commission, now they want all).
        Internet is monitored by the government special forces. There are many bloggers, paid by the state, who troll internet resources, by making pro-Putin comments and insulting those who is against Putin and his corrupted criminal system.

      • The Other Katherine says:

        Thank you, Anita0614, I appreciate the info. Your point about oil revenues makes a lot of sense.

    • L says:

      Ah the legendary Russian ‘thin skin’. “It’s not my fault and I”m offended that you have said anything! Look at you!” obidet’sya indeed.

      http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/02/05/don-t-you-dare-call-russians-thin-skinned.html

    • Milla B says:

      Agree with you Ice Maiden. What about Qatar? The World Cup will be in 2022 and is already a mess. I understand and agree with the criticism about Putin and the homophobic russian laws. But come on. The situation seems OTT most of time.

      “Qatar World Cup construction ‘will leave 4,000 migrant workers dead”. Why people don’t care about this?

      http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2013/sep/26/qatar-world-cup-migrant-workers-dead

      http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/24/qatar-2022-world-cup-185-nepalese-workers-died-2013?commentpage=1

      • Ice Maiden says:

        I was going to mention Qatar. Homosexual activity is actually a serious crime there, which is not the case in Russia, disturbing though their new laws are. And that’s on top of the fact that thousands of people building the stadia are modern-day slaves. And much else besides. But because Qatar is an ally of the West, that will all be brushed under the carpet.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        2022 is 8 years away, so it is farther off on people’s radar. However, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, two “western” organizations have spoken out about Qatar.

        I find the idea that you can’t be sincerely concerned about human rights violations in one place unless you dramatically address every human rights violation in every country at the same time to be a false dichotomy.

      • Ice Maiden says:

        ”2022 is 8 years away, so it is farther off on people’s radar. However, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, two “western” organizations have spoken out about Qatar. ”

        It is 8 years ago but they were already awarded the World Cup when their terrible human rights record was well known. And certainly, said record doesn’t stop ‘western’ nations doing big business with Qatar, which includes arms sales. Human rights organisations are not the same thing as governments.

        ”I find the idea that you can’t be sincerely concerned about human rights violations in one place unless you dramatically address every human rights violation in every country at the same time to be a false dichotomy. ”

        I agree. But we’re not talking about simply not ‘dramatically addressing’ each violation. We’re talking about ostentatious grandstanding over violations in one country (which happens to be a rival) and ignoring the same, if not worse violations in other countries (which happen to be allies). That’s hypocrisy, pure and simple.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Ice Maiden, how can you say Qatar is being brushed under the carpet? There has been a lot outrage about the choice of Qatar and the corruption surrounding the choice! From The Guardian Oct. 2013:

        “The head of football in the United States is demanding changes to the way Fifa conducts voting for future World Cups. United States Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati says the controversy surrounding Qatar’s successful bid to host the 2022 tournament can’t become routine, and is calling on Fifa to change its voting rules to stamp out major poltical interference.”

      • Tiffany :) says:

        “It is 8 years ago but they were already awarded the World Cup when their terrible human rights record was well known.”

        The US isn’t the one making the choice of where to hold the Cup. I am just confused as to why you are directing the responsibility on the US, and not the organization that actually chose the location.

      • Ice Maiden says:

        I’m not talking about individuals. I’m talking about governments. Most ‘western’ governments have excellent relations with Qatar, and have never allowed that country’s human rights record to bother them – or their arms sales – in the slightest. It’s a bit early to make predictions, but I highly doubt there’ll be a self-righteous boycott of the Qatar World Cup.

        As to your other point, I never even mentioned the US in the post you are referring to!

      • Bridget says:

        People DO care about Qatar. However, they’re concerned about the Olympics that are literally right in front of them. It’s human nature to be more concerned with the problem directly in front of them. But Qatar’s human rights issues don’t make what’s gone on in Sochi any less wrong, and other human rights injustices don’t excuse Russia’s at all.

      • Zadie says:

        The World Championship in Handball is in Qatar next year, and some major countries participate, like Germany and France. Why is no one uproaring about that?

    • jjva says:

      I just wanted to say this is a fascinating, enlightening conversation, and exactly why I come to Celebitchy.

  10. Feebee says:

    “Irritated by Russia’s successes”? No, we would have loved it if Russia had successfully finished the hotel rooms, had the courses complete without adjustments having to be made for safety reasons and thought about what the word ‘privacy’ means (talking about the double toilet stalls, not even touching the bathroom video surveillance).

    Hope the athletes have what they need so they can give their best and make all that training worth it.

  11. YoungHeartOldSoulNewView says:

    I’m not very well-versed in this, so can someone please explain — exactly HOW did Russia/Sochi win the bid for this??? How does any country win a bid to host any Olympics? Aren’t there some sort of procedures or experts who survey the place and the availability of resources to hold so many athletes and spectators or is it all politics that have nothing to do with safety and feasibility?

  12. Arock says:

    All corruption, human right violations, and Olympic b.s. Aside, Putin has had work done. Quite a bit from the looks of it.

  13. Tapioca says:

    You forgot to mention that the snow is having to be MADE for the Games by a Finnish company, because it’s barely colder in Sochi than it is in England right now. Oh, and that it the most expensive Olympics mostly due to the billions of dollars embezzled by the Russian Mafia and corrupt politicians through dodgy contracts!

    But clamping down on what people get up to in their personal lives will obviously solve all the problems…

    • layla says:

      Lack of snow is not an uncommon thing for Winter Olympics. The weather is uncontrollable and sometimes Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate. Vancouver had similar issues for the 2010 Olympics and for many ski resorts making snow is the norm.

      I’m not going to get on Sochi’s case because of something they can’t control (On the other hand, perhaps a good side eye at the IOC for selection an almost sub-tropical climate as a location is very warranted)

      As for all the other issues and concerns…. ugh … I LOVE the Olympics and I really hope the Olympic Spirit triumphs for all.

      I also feel for the Russian people. As someone who has been lucky enough to experience 2 Olympics in their “hometown” (Sydney and Vancouver)… it must be hard to experience the whole world pointing and laughing at a time that should be filled with National pride.

  14. Mar says:

    As a person that spend time and money on helping homeless dogs, it saddens me that these strays are looked at like biological trash over there. There should have been a better solution for these animals. There are many rich people over there and someone should have stepped up for them!!!!

  15. please no says:

    how is edward snowden doing with his privacy fetish over there in the bastion of freedom. what a spectacle.

  16. Chrissy says:

    IMO This whole Olympic Games was a vanity project for Putin and nothing was going to stand his way to get it done. Of course if there were to be any complaints about the housing/ culling of dogs/ forcibly moving entire populations to accomodate the Games, it would be laughed off as “Western” propaganda. So sad yet so predictable. Putin is nothing but a “strong-man” dictator Stalin-style. I hope the visitors and athletes stay safe at the very least.

  17. TheOneandOnlyOnly says:

    This is also the country that Edward Snowden and his most fervent supporters are turning a blind eye to; and we haven’t even mentioned the hundreds of Russian journalists murdered by everyone from the jihadists to the Russian mafia to just plain old corrupt politicians. This hypocrisy has been pointed out by many columnists and commentators (Robert Samuelson one of my favorites for starters) but Snowden and his supporters are indifferent to the actual conditions in his “host” country.

    • The Other Katherine says:

      No, we’re not. Unfortunately, it was one of very few places in the world that Snowden could go where a successful rendition or murder by U.S. spooks isn’t necessarily a given. It’s a far cry from endorsing Putin’s system of government.

    • TinyTurtle says:

      I doubt he’s blind or indifferent to it.
      The whole reason he is over there is because the US govt will kill him when they get a hold of him, They will eventually, his days are numbered.
      and all because he spilled the beans about how our own govt. is grossly invading our privacy, they had just been sneakier about it than Russia up until now.

  18. GMarchetti says:

    Wait to see Brazil 2016…

  19. Katija says:

    PLEASE keep in mind that the Russians themselves are just as grossed out by this sh** as you guys are. As a Russian, I just CRINGE. Corruption is RAMPANT and the citizenry has no control over it.

    If you ever want to go to Russia, go to Moscow or St. Petersburg. Sochi is so blah. Putin just has a boner for it, that’s all. It’d be like if it was the Bush era and he was trying to sell visiting foreigners on some bumf*** town in Texas. It’d be like, um… you’d PROBABLY have more fun in a place like NYC or Miami…

  20. Bridget says:

    Of COURSE Yakunin would say that (he was the author of the Russian blog post). The Russian Railways was the recipient of a massive contract to build a rail line to connect Sochi for the Games, and Yakunin, as a friend of Putin, was the recipient of a massive, billionw of dollars contract that he received massive kickbacks on. Of COURSE he doesn’t want people criticising the Games, because he’s one of the individuals who’s turned the Winter Olympics as an opportunity to line his pockets with a disgusting amount of money. One of the reasons why the Games are so unprepared was because Putin gave the build contracts to his friends, who were completely out of their depth with the projects they were in charge of, but who were more than willing to pay Putin. But sure, the West is just jealous.

  21. msw says:

    I love Google for their doodle.

    Not much to say about the problems, except they range from stupid to absolutely appalling.

  22. drea says:

    I feel so bad for the Olympians. So on top of all the #sochiproblems, the Russian feds can now enjoy video of them butt naked in their hotel rooms and bathrooms. Lovely. Old habits die hard, eh?

  23. hmm says:

    Am I the only one who thinks all the tweets and photos/media response just makes Americans seem a bit, well…. spoiled? That isn’t meant in an aggressive way, and maybe its because I just came back from Thailand and India, but things like having a bin for toilet paper instead of flushing, and seedy hotel rooms, are standard throughout most of the world. It just all feels rather whitegirlproblems – esque. However, the reports about the stray dogs and gay rights violations are spot on, and it seems like some truly horrible things are going on over there.

    • drea says:

      Well, it’s not just Americans, though. Check the hashtags, I’ve seen quite a few languages and countries represented. Also, we’re talking about the Olympics. The venue’s not supposed to come off as a backpackers’ pitstop. I live in a developing nation and I’m looking at those photos like, wow, we might have been able to do a better job here.

    • bluhare says:

      I dunno, it doesn’t look too good when a name on-air person gets pink eye. Not that it’s fatal, but a very nice show of possible communicable disease.

      But your point about first world vs. rest of world is taken.

    • GeeMoney says:

      “It just all feels rather whitegirlproblems – esque.”

      Please. Race aside – if I had to use a “bin” to deposit my human waste in instead of in a toilet that flushed, I might just die. That’s just gross.

      I know that us Americans have luxuries that the rest of the world doesn’t have, but come on. Filthy rooms and bad plumbing in a HOTEL of all places shouldn’t be an issue (it’s a hotel for crying out loud). Like someone said up thread… Russia spent $50 billion dollars on these Olympics… where did the money go??? Surely not to provide good accommodations for the press and the Olympic competitors. And that’s just a damn shame.

      And don’t even get me started on how they are euthanizing all of the dogs over there… rrrrr.

      • Cecilia says:

        white girl problems?? I find that offensive. I think this is an everybody problem. Filth is filth & accommodations offered to the public & for the Olympics, no less, should not be sub-standard. What was the 50 billion spent on??

      • SonjaMarmeladova says:

        I really doubt you have any luxuries most European countries don’t have.

      • GeeMoney says:

        I was referring to the countries in the post that I responded to. Damn.

      • jackrabbit says:

        This is only a quick response to SonjaMarmeladova’s comment: “I really doubt you have any luxuries most European countries don’t have”.

        Well, as a displaced Canadian in Austria let me tell you there are many, many, many luxuries we have in N. America they don’t have here in Europe: Supermarkets with grocery baggers and free grocery bags and sometimes even friendly helpers to carry your groceries to your car, drive – through Starbucks, banks, grocery pick-up, 24 hour pharmacies, Walmarts etc., SUNDAY SHOPPING – or shopping past 19h (although, do recognize outside of Austria and Germany there is, in some major cities, Sunday and evening shopping), OTC medication (the good stuff & the basics), choice of tampon brands (in Austria we have only O.B. or the no-name version of O.B.), shopping malls with stores other than Zara or H&M, choice and diversity of goods and services, friendly service…..I could go on and on…….

        As modern and forward thinking as most (certainly NOT Vienna) major European cities are, compared to N. America they still feel quite quaint…..kind of like living in a small rural town in N. America circa 1984.

      • bob says:

        @Jackrabbit, do you think many Europeans would want all of that? Whilst I agree on the tampon front, not something I’ve come across in the rest of Europe (never been to Austria); the idea that and able-bodied person needs someone to put their shopping in a bag for them or they can’t get out of a car to get a coffee seems somewhat odd.

      • jackrabbit says:

        @Bob, perhaps many Europeans would not want this….but how would they know if they’ve never had it? Also, the grocery baggers and the sweet people who carry the groceries out are usually, not always, high school kids working part-time or people who are mentally handicapped in some capacity and this gives them an opportunity to be productive and helpful and they are always outgoing, friendly and so happy and proud to be employed and no “able-bodied” person acts or treats them poorly or acts as though they are above carrying out their own groceries……it’s a service provided by the grocery chains – N. America, compared with Europe, especially Austria, is extremely service oriented. A work colleague of my husband’s summed up things up perfectly regarding life in Europe/Austria “You can get what you need, just not what you want”. Princess problems, sure, but when you’ve lived most of your life in N. America you know exactly what you’re missing. And, I do agree, drive-through coffee shops might sound absurd but when you live in a Country that often has temperatures below -20C in winter…….or when you have two sleeping children in the car with you….you quickly grow to appreciate them : )

    • Bridget says:

      I sincerely doubt your Thai/India trip cost $51 billion and had 7 years of planning. The point is that someone paid for those hotels to be built, for those venues, for the roads and rails,and what was paid for was absolutely notbuilt. Or what the 30,000 migrant laborers were brought in to build.

    • hmm says:

      It wasn’t meant to be offensive! If it was not the best choice of words, I apologize. I guess it was just that after all of the current coverage, I realized that I had always assumed that poverty in Russia was somewhat like the rest of the poorer bits of Europe, but had never actually heard any news coverage to indicate that that was the case (i.e. had zero basis for my assumption). Looking through the photographs though, just showed conditions similar to for instance standard accommodations in Thailand (which has the 2nd largest economy in SE asia I believe, so its not doing too badly!). I recently stayed at multiple 5 star hotels in India, and they had many of the same problems tweeted about (so much orange water, so little toilet paper). I guess I used the word whitegirlproblems because I was wondering if the media was belittling and poking fun at things which may literally be a luxury or above standard for the inhabitants of the country. Again, I have no idea what the standards are in Russia, and could be completely off base.

      And just from a curiosity standpoint, I was wondering if anyone felt like all the attention given to those small things would have the potential to take away from the gravity of some of the really serious things going on over there by taking away from the credibility of those reporting (i.e. if the Russian media would use these smaller complaints as a way to defend dismissing the more serious issues at hand). Just random musings.
      But yes where the hell did all that money go? Wonder how much of it was due to incompetency, and how much was due to corruption

      • Bridget says:

        An estimated third of the $51 billion dollar budget has gone to kickbacks and bribes. And the work is being done by sweetheart contracts, that were handed off directly to Putin’s friends, so a lot of the work has been incompetent. A huge part of the issue is that Sochi had to have absolutely everything built from scratch – there were no existing venues, hotels, rails, insufficient access by road. This was a very unusual choice, and then Putin handing off contracts to incompetent builders just made it worse.

        And I’m sure you weren’t trying to be rude, but it wasn’t the best comment you could have made, considering the migant labor force that was brought in to build these sub-par hotels, the people of Sochi who were actually displaced in order to make room to build these venues and the promenade, and the utter corruption that this entire endeavor represents.

      • hmm says:

        to be fair just looked at the sochiproblems twitter, as opposed to the usual trending articles, and some of that is just ridiculous

      • Bridget says:

        Those hotels you’re seeing are actually the nicest, most complete ones in Sochi.

        Again, 7 years, $51 billion dollars. The most expensive Olympics ever, and Bob Costas gets pinkeye in his first few days there.

      • hmm says:

        @Bridget, I think what you said is completely the point. Just felt a bit like post after post of ridiculing things like this:https://twitter.com/SochiProblems/status/430704536307511296/photo/1
        simply made us look entitled rather than focusing on the real issues at hand, such as the ones you mentioned. Just seems like the media is focusing most of its energy on the wrong things.
        I am a white girl, and it wasn’t in any way shape or form meant as a racist remark, whitegirlproblems just referenced the popular twitter and meme (or is it called firstworldproblems? not sure, of the crying woman clutching her face because of something negligible)

      • SonjaMarmeladova says:

        What is wrong with the room in the picture?

      • hmm says:

        @SonjaMarmeladova exactly- that is the point. There is nothing wrong with the room. But that and others things like it are passed off as travesties on sochiproblems, and it makes us look a wee bit out of touch with reality.
        It feels like the a kid on the playground ridiculing another kid for not having designer clothes, instead of focusing on the fact that they beat someone senseless.
        The reporting going on just smacks a bit of sensationalism, and makes it hard to know when to trust/take the media seriously/ when it is propaganda. Just thought it was an interesting observation/not helping their case. My English friend says that their reporting on Sochi is much different, and doesn’t really focus on the #sochiproblems phenomenon much at all, but more on the human rights issues. Also just to be clear- I’m talking about all the Sochi stuff permeating Facebook, twitter, etc, not CB’s reporting on it

      • Bridget says:

        That pic (which is of the Canadian Men’s hockey athlete quarters) is actually the best of the rooms and the pics. And again: you’re missing the point. It isn’t that people are horrified at the idea of staying in less than stellar accomodations. The point is that THIS is what the most expensive Olympics ever has to show. They have brought the world to Sochi and can’t even provide running water to all the rooms – many had raw sewage come out of the faucet, some had bright yellow water come out of their faucets (”you don’t want to wash with that it’s dangerous”), they actually forgot to put manhole covers on the promenade! Its not about the accomodations themselves, its that they’re a symbol of how corrupted this whole enterprise is.

      • GeeMoney says:

        @hmm
        I didn’t think that the “whitegirlproblems” thing was offensive… I was just trying to say that I didn’t see how race really applied. Maybe “American problems” would have been better to say, b/c there isn’t a race here in the States that doesn’t like or would deal with bad plumbing or gross hotel rooms.

        Apparently other people get up in arms when you mention the slightest thing about race… it’s annoying the most of the time, but you know, people are really sensitive.

      • hmm says:

        @Bridget, hmmm, while your opinion is definitely very valid, and also most likely right in terms of many people’s intentions, I must respectfully disagree on how it comes across, especially at a cursory glance.

      • Bridget says:

        Honestly, if that’s how it comes across to you then I would suggest that you read up on the subject on a site that lets you write more than 140 characters at a time, because Twitter isn’t exactly the medium for tone and nuance.

      • Nerd Alert says:

        Pay no attention to Cecilia’s taking offense to that. She’s sort of a separatist herself. Thinks doves should fly with doves/blackbirds should fly with blackbirds, and all that.

      • hmm says:

        think the way it’s being reported is interesting, nonetheless. Agree with this writer, it’s the tone thats a bit iffy: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/116507/russians-hit-back-west-cool-it-olympic-schadenfreude

    • Zbornak Syndrome says:

      51 billion dollars spent, and yellow water in hotels is fair? Ummm, no- that isn’t spoiled. If you can’t be a proper host for your guests then don’t volunteer to throw a party!

  24. MarilynGray says:

    I don’t want to make light of what is clearly a serious situation, I will leave the political and cultural discussion for those commenters more informed than I.

    That being said, my mind did stick on one line of that article, ringing all sorts of paranoia bells in my head. ..

    “A journalist reportedly tried to ask the minister whether he was suggesting that there is surveillance in media hotel rooms. BUT WAS QUICKLY PULLED AWAY BY AN AID”

    That just doesn’t sound good. What happened to that journalist? I have sudden pictures of a man being dragged out of a room, and thrown into a vehicle with a bag over his head, soon to become an Orwellian “un-person”.

    And please don’t think my comments are anti-Russian, my paranoia knows no cultural boundaries, and i would be thinking this about my own country if the opportunity ever arose.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      U.S. State Department’s Overseas Security Advisory Council made a warning about this. They are taking the possibility very seriously for a number of reasons:

      “The system in Sochi is capable of capturing telephone (including mobile phone) communications; intercepting Internet (including wireless/WiFi) traffic; and collecting and storing all user information and data (including actual recordings and locations),” the U.S. council, which operates as a joint venture with the private sector, wrote in an assessment for its members ahead of the Olympics. “Deep packet inspection will allow Russian authorities to track users by filtering data for the use of particular words or phrases mentioned in emails, web chats, and on social media.” Of course, the terrorist threat at the Olympics is a real one, and the Russian system is authorized under local law, the report says.

      The international gathering presents a cyber-minefield of threats from nation-state entities, in which “visitors to Sochi may also experience other types of surveillance and should have no expectation of privacy.” Hotel rooms and cars are among the locations that “may be monitored on site or remotely.” And forget about taking any swag that could interface with your electronics. ”Free or gifted computer storage media, such as USB thumb drives or CDs/DVDs, may also contain malware,” the report says.

      http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-02-06/youre-being-spied-on-at-sochi-olympics-as-part-of-russian-surveillance

  25. INNA says:

    I just hope everyone makes it home safe after the games.

  26. moon says:

    No surprises Sochi is so expensive and incomplete. One word: corruption.

  27. Scarlet Vixen says:

    I just watched an ESPN documentary today on Katerina Witt (2 time Olympic gold medalist in figure skating) and East Germany.
    Learning even more about the way the East German gov’t claimed to be a democracy to the world while they were controlling every spect of their people’s lives and spying on EVERYONE makes me even more wary of what is happening in Russia today. I gew up in the 80s but didn’t know the full extent of the East German surveillance. I can’t believe it’s been almost 24yrs since the Berlin wall came down. Maybe Russia will eventually find an end to the massive corruption, too…

  28. mercy says:

    Scratched Russia off my future travel destinations. I like to experience other cultures and I’m quite used to roughing it on adventures to other countries, but after reading about their widespread abuse of the most vulnerable members of society (celebrating beating up gays, taking people’s homes and killing their pets), along with their rampant spying (watching hotel guests in their showers, hacking people’s computers within hours of setting foot on Russian soil) there’s no reason to give them my tourism dollars as long as evil, corrupt bastards like Putin are running the show.

  29. Gia says:

    If I was staying at a hotel in Sochi I would tear that place apart looking for surveillance tools and if I found it, tweet it to every news agency I could find. That’s complete and utter bullshit.

  30. Emily C. says:

    Gee what a shock. Surely no one could ever have seen this coming.

  31. LAK says:

    Wheel out the poodles. We don’t believe you.

  32. idsmith says:

    It looks to me like Putin’s been visiting the plastics doctor. That seems like filler and botox in his face.

  33. Joh says:

    Russia, like Uganda, has been putting out info that homosexuals are pederasts. They are being assisted by American christianists
    ( think Kristian-lite.) ( or Kirk Cameron)
    Like tobbaco companies who are finding it difficult to peddle their wares here, the christianists are finding it much easier in countries with lower education levels to find support and $$$$$ not only spreading lies about gays but helping real pederasts hide and continue.
    As to Russian corruption, Google Russian dash cam videos.
    Without video proof, blame is placed on whoever offers the smallest bribe….. Good times

  34. Lemon says:

    Add to the list:

    Person who lit the torch (former figure skater?) has tweeted racist photos of the Obamas. Nice.

  35. original kay says:

    is it just me or does the official website kinda suck?

    um, and in the photos of the opening ceremony, why are there so many fireworks pics and the only country shown is Russia? not to mention the most pics of the events already finished are of Russian athletes?

    am I being too picky?? I hate the olympics are in Sochi, I really have a horrible feeling about it.

    :(

  36. Penny says:

    On the one hand, really dodgy stuff happens at every Olympics and Winter Olympics. Homeless people get forcibly taken out of the city so they won’t be seen. The stray dog culling has happened in a few places, most recently Greece. Big contracts are given to someone who has a friend in high places, it’s always corrupt as hell. Because work’s being done by some politicians uncle’s best mate and not the best person for the job, stupid shit get’s built and massive mistakes happen. I worked at Sydney, and some of the idiotic stuff that we spent money on still makes me want to scream. There was no aspect of our Games that wasn’t corrupt. The accommodation is always lousy, it always starts falling apart before the Olympics are even over, most of it ends up being torn down or it becomes the slums. It’s always a giant mess, and a huge waste of money.

    It’s just that when this stuff happens in Russia or China, they don’t really bother pretending it’s not happening, so it actually get’s reported on. That doesn’t make the stuff in Russia any better, but I am getting a little sick of seeing the usual problems every single Olympics has had being called Sochi Problems.

    The bigotry is something else, and unfortunately it looks like the timing of the Olympics has made Russia double down on it.

    • Ange says:

      Sydney can’t have been that bad accommodation wise, they’ve made good money reselling the village housing. I know a few people who live in it in Sydney and my brother actually bought one of the houses off eBay and shipped it to his acreage. That was only last year so it must have held up well.

      The best I think I’ve seen was London. The village was great, everything was clean and working there ran smoothly as it could considering the huge security measures. I could talk it up all day.

    • msw says:

      Please tell me who needs to get kicked in the nuts for the vault height in the women’s All Around final.

  37. Patty says:

    The opening ceremony was wonderful! I’m going to the actual games a chance before writing them off as an epic fail due to some lousy hotel accommodations for a few reporters or the dog killings. Is the latter sad? Absolutely but this isn’t an issue unique to Russia. Ever been to Spain? People dump unwanted animals (cats in particular) in the parks and the government poisons them.

    • Annabelle says:

      I thought the opening ceremony was beautiful from the pictures. Cannot wait to watch it. The Olympics are going to be fine, I don’t get why everyone is thinking something’s gonna happen…

      • Kate says:

        Because jihadists are literally just on the other side of the mountain from where the Olympics are being held and these particular jihadists do not care who or what they destroy to make their point. While it is hard to classify one brand of jihadists as being worse than another, these guys (and girls) are particularly ruthless. Additionally, while everything looks pretty on the outside, the oligarchs pocketed billions and billions of dollars instead of putting those funds into making certain the facilities, venues, etc. were built in a quality manner, and there really aren’t any regulations or legitimate inspectors ensuring things are “up to code.”

      • Nicolette says:

        @Kate, considering the rinky dink condition of the things we’ve seen posted on the internet, I seriously have my doubts as to how strong their ‘ring of steel’ security is.

        @Annabelle, Kate is absolutely right when she says that the jihadists do not care who or what they destroy. Many threats are being made, and they need to be taken seriously. Hopefully nothing will happen, but you are talking about people who have no respect for life, and that sets up a very dangerous situation. Terrorism has reared it’s ugly head before at the Olympics. Look up the games at Munich Germany.

  38. mux says:

    (Winter Olympics Games Have Always Been a Little Bit Gay TV Commercial )
    Check this out. This is funny…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQrL5efVRXE

  39. NeoCleo says:

    That man has the cold eyes of a serial killer.

  40. Sojourner says:

    Can we not use the word “shade” all the time?

  41. Sal says:

    I noticed the Google logo change, of course, but to be honest it never entered my mind that it was about gay rights. I just thought it was lanes, and colours to represent the different countries. I never caught on. Lol But I’ve always believed that we (Australia, America, Canada, England etc etc) should have not sent our athletes and boycotted Sochi on principle.

  42. another nina says:

    I will watch Olympics because I respect sportsmen, who worked very hard to get there. I believe that it’s THE event, where we need to separate sports and politics.

    • BlokeToys says:

      You cannot separate sports from politics when the Olympics are BUILT ON POLITICS.
      The Olympic Movement is supposed to be about politics, nations coming together to support common ideals, you cannot have that when those involved actively work against those common ideals.

      I think you need to read the Olympic Charter, it’s political in its very nature.

      Besides, have you seen the history of the games? Boycotts, pressure over racism, memorable protests about South Africa… suggesting it’s “not about politics” is like suggesting it’s “not about money”.

      • another nina says:

        The entire idea behind ancient Olympics was to cease wars and appreciate sports. I’m also advocating for stopping dual propaganda and appreciating the beauty of sports. I did happen to have read Olympics Charter, I don’t see how my intention contradicts this slogan. Yes, I’ve seen the history of boycotts and yes, one of my friends had to miss two Olympics because some retards decided to boycott it. I believe that boycotts was a huge loss for those generations.

  43. Janet says:

    Did anyone see the story of the athlete who got locked in the bathroom and had to bust through the door to get out? The door was made of cardboard. Here is a pic:

    http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/sochi-olympics/bobsledder-johnny-quinn-breaks-through-locked-door-n25306

    I’m beginning to think they should have held these games in Port-Au-Prince. Even Haiti could have done a better job than the fiasco the Russians have made of this.

  44. Theo Ashura says:

    Well, except for the terrorist threat (although there is here the narcotrafic threat…), it seems here in Brazil there will be the same problems like in Sochi, caused by lack of proper planning and blatant corruption of the governing authorities, during the Soccer World Cup in the middle of this year.
    My advice for everyone who intends to come here to Brazil during the World Cup ?
    DON´T COME, you better watch the soccer competition on TV or through Internet…

  45. BlokeToys says:

    “democratic principle of ‘freedom of speech,’”

    The fact that this is even used in this context, like a criticism, shows the lack of intellect in the highest ranks of the Russian state. They just don’t get democracy, freedom of opinion, equality, rights… they just don’t think that way. Most Russian men believe that the people should immediately “submit” to those in power. They’re like Republicans, they confuse democracy with the majority exerting their will over all others.

    The notion of Sochi becoming a “tourist destination” is a joke. That’s the plan Russia has, they want to make this a global resort after the games. That’s clearly not going to happen, because people generally don’t go to Russia for fun, they go to gawk at the Kremlin and see a Ballet show before flying home again. It’s not so different to going to China, or even North Korea. You don’t go there to have a good time, you go to say you’ve been, seen the sights, then get out quickly before you’re arrested for doing “non-traditional” things.

    People should be worried about what’s going to happen after the games are over. The only thing seemingly holding Putin and his brown shirts back is the Olympics. Once that’s done it’s very likely the ultra-nationalism will begin to spiral out of control.

    As for “sympathy” for the Russians… no chance. Plenty of countries have managed to deliver a more spectacular games without the negative press, the failures, the embarrassment and the shame, and for far less money. Perhaps if they had actually spent all those many billions on the games rather than filling up their own bank accounts they wouldn’t have anything to be embarrassed about – other than their total and utter bigotry and ignorance of course.

    • another nina says:

      “You don’t go there to have a good time, you go to say you’ve been, seen the sights, then get out quickly before you’re arrested for doing “non-traditional” things.”

      See, for many people having fun does not necessarily mean just limiting it to “doing untraditional things”, whatever you mean by it. You can go to China or Russia to appreciate their thousand years long culture, to talk to people, to enjoy nature. You should try digging out of your hole, so to speak, this world might surprise you.

    • jane16 says:

      BlokeToys, love your comment!

  46. Larissa says:

    I am sorry, but at least half of the Russians are still very strongly PRO puttin, so really…stop trying to make it sund like ALL Russians are living in some sort of “forced dictadorship”.

  47. Caroline says:

    Too many stray dogs can’t be good for the Olympics, just the reality imo.

  48. Julia says:

    OMFG!! I can’t believe that people can be so easily manipulated nowadays! All it takes is a few fake photos and a trending hashtag for people to assume that everything is so bad in Sochi!! Wow!! And here we thought that Internet helps us become smarter, analyse the situation, get our facts right, at least research the subject before formalising our own opinion. Nah, why bother, right! I saw a pic with yellow water, so it means that everything is a disaster and I feel sorry for athletes!! Wake up people! Don’t be so ignorant! I am speechless.