Sochi Olympics Horror Stories

I keep seeing news reports about problems with the Winter Olympics being held in Sochi, Russia.

These stories seem to be growing in their numbers and intensity. Just today, a few of the headlines on The Drudge Report include:

Hotel Horror Stories:

Race to kill all stray dogs before Friday opening…

Cameras in Showers:

One story has to do with the officials demanding people give them their pillows because there are not enough for the athletes. Residents Ordered to Surrender Pillows:

There are many others.

What do you think has gone wrong in Sochi? I’ve seen reports that Russia as spent something like $55 billion to prepare these games but that there has been massive fraud and corruption and that much of that money never got to the site but wound up in the pockets of corrupt officials.

You can see these headlines at The Drudge Report site:

Why would they need people to surrender their pillows? Seems to me that is a very minor need. What would happen if athletes rolled up some towels to use for pillows? What would be the danger?

And who cares that much anyway? After all, it’s only the winter games.

Construction and corruption go hand in hand:

I have friends in Sochi for the Olympics (athletes, coaches, officials) and so far their reports are pretty good. I’m sure there was graft and corruption on every level of the construction but to some degree that has gone on at every Olympics.

I’d be willing to bet that there are microphones in the rooms also. Old habits die hard, and Putin was KGB, after all. I used to travel in Eastern Europe for work and we always assumed that our rooms were bugged and that there may be cameras. One woman I traveled with told me that there was a full length mirror in her shower. It really squicked her out.

We found out for sure that our rooms in Prague were bugged. We always brought our own toilet paper on these trips, as Soviet Bloc TP was like crepe paper or worse. The same woman mentioned above came back from our day’s work, opened her suitcase and her roll of TP was gone. She exclaimed out loud that “Goddamn it, they stole my toilet paper!” About two minutes later there was a knock on her door and a hotel employee wordlessly handed her the roll. :smiley:

To continue the hijack. I had one woman tell me that when her husband was posted to the CCCP as a diplomat (early 70’s) she mentioned to her husband one day that the tap in the bathroom sink was no longer working and 15 minutes later a repairman showed up.

Worst thing for her was, they were in bed when she said it. Those Russkies sure were a risque bunch,

Anyone who considers not having a pillow to be a “horror story” lives a blessed life.

Total hijack:

In 2000, my father travelled to Israel to give a talk* at the University (I can’t remember which). We all got to travel there and had a nice vacation. But he was there for a few weeks prior to us. When he first got there, he settled into the hotel and went down to dinner with colleagues. When he came back, the Mossad had been all through his room, lap top, and belongings. They even left their cigarette butts in the ashtray. Brazenly bad ass!

*His company was actually hosting a war game.

From the stories I’m seeing in the media, the moment someone turns on a smart phone or laptop computer in Sochi, it’s going to be “instantly hacked”. I know there was an Olympics of Computer Crime, Russian “athletes” would win gold, silver, bronze, copper, steel, iron, and pot metal. Still, I have a hard time believing that unjailbroken/unrooted mobile devices, or laptops with appropriate security settings and accounts with strong passwords, are going to be pwned upon receiving their first native dot-ru TCP/IP blocks. Besides, how would any normal Russian be able to use a mobile phone or computer if it’s always going to be hacked within seconds of being turned on?

First world problems: the 21st century version of “Finish your meal! There’s starving kids in China!” God forbid any privileged white person from a developed nation should expect accommodations better than a pile of straw on a dirt floor, considering the squalid living conditions for everybody else on the planet.

The original NBC story seems to have rather gilded the lily

I think having the authorities demand that citizens give up their pillows implies a degree of horror that isn’t about a good night’s sleep.

I believe it is in the having of personal property confiscated by the government for an item that should have been purchased by the contracting company which obviously was not.

To hell with pillows. Imagine being subjected to this:
Sochi Hotel Guests Complain About Topless Portraits of Putin in Rooms

Saw an item on CNN a little while ago, bet it makes the Daily Show tonight.

You know that’s “Borowitz report” right?

D’oh! :smack: I saw it on CNN earlier, and just grabbed my first Google hit as a quick cite without performing my due diligence. At least I’m not CNN. Still funny–“riding a variety of mammals”.

At least one of the taps was working. :smiley:

Nailed it.

That’s in the OP (different link, though.)

Tangentially, did anyone see the report that Irina Rodnina, who lit the Olympic cauldron, tweeted a racist pic of Obama last Autumn?

Expect what you want, but you and I both know you are unlikely to find that in Russia. It’s an ultra corrupt middle income country, and I’m not sure why “poor country has crappy hotels” is front page news.