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
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.”
Passenger tries to hijack plane to Sochi
A Pegasus Airlines plane landed at an Istanbul airport late last night after a passenger said that there was a bomb on board and wanted the plane to land in Sochi, Russia, the site of the Winter Olympics, said officials with Turkey’s Transportation Ministry.
“While the plane was in the air, one of the passengers said that there was a bomb on board and asked the plane to not land in Sabiha Gokcen (in Turkey) but rather land in Sochi,” Transportation Ministry official Habip Soluk said. The passenger said the bomb was in the baggage hold. Officials had no immediate details on why the alleged hijacker wanted to divert the plane to Sochi.
The alleged hijacker is of Ukrainian nationality, Soluk added. At the time of going to press, the 110 passengers were still on board the plane. Security officers were searching for a bomb aboard the plane, the transportation official said.
Yoghurt row hits US team
US Olympians are having to make do without the team’s official yoghurt. Some 5,000 cups of Greek yoghurt from sponsor Chobani is not getting to Sochi because of a customs dispute with Russia.
Authorities say the US Department of Agriculture has refused to provide a certificate that is required under its customs rules. The lack of the yoghurt could deprive the team of a source of protein and disturb their daily routines as they prepare for the biggest competition of their lives.
Stray dog makes an appearance
Sochi knew the issues they would have with stray dogs, and even with strong efforts to rid the dogs from interfering with the Games – one managed its way into the Opening Ceremony.
Austrian delegate takes a tumble
A member of Austria’s team lies on the ground after falling during the Opening Ceremony
Russia’s PM Dmitry Medvedev, who was sitting five seats away from Putin, was caught sleeping at the Opening Ceremony