Sochi: Where’s the Iron Curtain when you need one? It seems nowhere is safe from the prying eyes of the Russian state as it hosts the Sochi Winter Olympics. A government official has let slip that hotel guests are being monitored by covert surveillance cameras even in the shower.

The twin toilets at Sochi were one of the first issues that were highlighted by journalists. Other photographs such as loos with a view, dirty water have also gone viral on social media. Pic/Twitter
The twin toilets at Sochi were one of the first issues that were highlighted by journalists. Other photographs such as loos with a view, dirty water have also gone viral on social media. Pic/Twitter

Russia’s Dmitry Kozak, deputy prime minister responsible for Olympic preparation, revealed that authorities have video from hotels showing that people leave the water on. “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, as quoted by the Wall Street Journal.

The astonishing revelations came when Kozak was confronted by journalists about the poor state of facilities around the Olympic Village. The Sochi Games have been hit by complaints that accommodation blocks were incomplete, the plumbing was malfunctioning, floors not laid, hotel rooms left without door handles.

But Kozak tried to brush off the problems, insisting they were blown out of proportion by a biased Western media. However, Kozak was quickly whisked away by other officials. His spokesman, Ilya Dzhus, has tried to quell the storm provoked by the claims, saying that ‘no such thing was ever said’.

He called the report a fantasy, a joke, or a mistranslation. Hotels have video surveillance of entrances for security purposes, he said, and some rooms had surveillance during construction. But never the bathrooms, Dzhus insisted, adding: “You can check yourself.”