Subscriber Discussion

Sochi Surveillance Cameras Covering Hotel Showers?

From a WSJ article:

"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.

Link to a Gizmodo post discussing this

Sochi Hotel Cameras

To begin with, it's just weird they would propose that venue for a Winter Olympics. Even weirder that the Olympic Committee selected it.

Next, Jamaica and the Bahamas will be putting in applications.

I'm sure they would have put those in even without the walls.

For his part, President Putin has been dismissive of the complaints, today calling the hotel guests “babies who cry.”


That quote reminds me of all the old Yakov Smirnoff jokes:

When I was in college, I worked for a GC who specialized in building hotels. It was a common test when things were almost wrapped for plumbers to turn on all faucets/showers/baths to see if everything was hooked up right and dry (no leaks).

I can see this being an issue during final inspection phase, because heat and humidity (ie: an unattended shower) can kick off mildew growth on an epic scale.

I bet Minister Kozak is more a victim of poor english than anything. Reporting at it's finest here...

I have no way of knowing anything, but putting cameras in the showers? ehh. Seems far fetched to have gone this long without being an issue before now.

Carlton,Which one, the update? No, it's from the WSJ. Commentary by The Wire".

The New Yorker article? Yes, it's my favorite (journalist), Andy Borowitz.

Carl, was that from the Borowitz Report?

But my absolutely favorite articla is in The New Yorker:

"With the Olympics underway, hundreds of visitors to Sochi are complaining that they checked into expensive hotel rooms only to find them decorated with seminude portraits of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The portraits, showing Mr. Putin shirtless and riding a variety of mammals, adorn the walls of virtually every hotel room constructed especially for the Olympics and were created at a cost of over two million dollars, Olympic officials said.

Tracy Klugian, who travelled from Ohio with his wife to attend the Sochi Games, said that he was appalled to find his hotel room dominated by a gigantic portrait of a shirtless Putin riding what appears to be a bear.

Said Mr. Klugian, “I did not travel thousands of miles just to be grossed out.”

For his part, President Putin has been dismissive of the complaints, today calling the hotel guests “babies who cry.”

“These people who are complaining about what is on their walls should be grateful,” he said. “At least they got one of the hotel rooms with walls.”"


True. Even journalists complain about the most trivial things:

  • "CNN booked 11 rooms in one @Sochi2014 media hotel five months ago. We have been here for a day and only one room is available." - Harry Reekie, CNN
  • "Still waiting for "preparations" on hotel room to finish. Hoping they're origami-folding toilet roll, rather than, say, putting the roof on." - Shaun Walker
  • "Water main break means no water at our hotel in #Sochi. Could take awhile to fix." - Rosa Huang
  • "The reception of our hotel in #Sochi has no floor. But it does have this welcoming picture." - Kevin Bishop
  • "People have asked me what surprised me the most here in Sochi. It's this. Without question ... it's ... THIS." - Greg Wyshynsk
  • "My hotel has no water. If restored, the front desk says, "do not use on your face because it contains something very dangerous."" - Stacy St. Clair

"The Sochi Olympics have also run way over budget — to a record $51 billion — which seems particularly remarkable when you consider that some of the work isn’t actually done. International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach has of course denied that, insisting both that the “stage is ready” and that many concerns, including those over safety and construction, are overblown."

I feel like there's a lot of Western privilege at play with all these complaints I hear coming out of Sochi, including this. I feel like every American reporter over there is essentially just repeating "Ooooooooh, Russia is so weird, you guys!!!"

It feels like a Yakov Smirnoff bit.

Proof that there's no paranoia like Russian paranoia. Still, according to an update on The Wire:

Update, 1:10 p.m.: Good news! A spokesman for Kozak now says "there is absolutely no surveillance in hotel rooms or bathrooms occupied by guests," the Journal reports. ("Occupied by guests" seems to be doing a lot of work in that sentence, but what do we know.) He went on:

"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."

Funniest comment on that Gizmodo post:

But seriously though:

Or, even worse, this may be an admission that Sochi has no hot water. Brrrrr.

Via the power of lies, I think.