Reporters document Sochi's Potemkin hotels


#1

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#2

Evacuate the area!! The curtain rod is down, I repeat, the curtain rod is down!!


#3

So this is what they mean by the Fall of the Iron Curtain


#4

A professor I knew who regularly went to the Soviet Union during the Cold War told me he loved to go into his hotel room and say very loudly, “This room is lovely, but it could use some flowers.” He’d then go out for a few hours. When he returned there’d be flowers in his room.

Those were the days, eh?


#5

The NSA is far less thoughtful.


#6

A friend of mine is there with the CBC. She has reported that the “big name” (ie national) correspondents’ rooms are generally fine, and they have running hot and cold water that appears “safe”. (Her room is missing curtains and has an empty side-room/sitting area with no furniture in it) but the lesser names in journalism and independents are the ones getting hosed room-wise.

(I say she should host a CBC dance party in the empty space in her room.)


#7

Well considering how much they’re paying . . . .


#8

I dunno, the Salt Lake olympics managed by Mitt Romney was extremely corrupt as well. Didn’t he get over a billion $ from the federal govt that he basically distributed to his fellow Utah cronies?

I’m not saying our corruption is as thuggish as Putin’s, but really that’s just a matter of taste. In fact, since the 2008 financial fraud explosion I’d say the US is in a funny place when it complains about corruption in other nations. A funny place known as “Potcallingthekettleblackville”. Its not easy to pronounce at first but its really easy once you get the hang of it.


#9

You took the words right out of my mouth. If journalists are really complaining about those conditions they seriously need to rethink their career choice. I mean come on, its Russia, not Dubai where they have thousands of slaves to complete the punch list and polish the marble for the foreign spoiled-asses.


#10

One of my buddies in Montreal, visited the USSR some decades ago. When he would return to his hotel room at the end of the day, he’d relate, out loud, the day’s sights to the room: “Today, I went to the Museum! And I saw…”

Likewise, another friend’s mother returned to Czechoslovakia for a few weeks, to visit her sister. Of course there was the omnipresent minder always tailing her.

One day, after returning from her day’s outing, she and her sister, from the comfort of the apartment, were looking at the poor, sad-looking minder shivering outside in the rain.

So she stepped outside and told him:
"Look, I know you’re tailing me and it’s not your choice, so I don’t hold it against you. Why don’t you come inside for some tea and get out of the rain?

  • I don’t know what you’re talking about, I’m not spying on you," came the reply.
    She insisted that it was fine, she knew, she wouldn’t tell anyone, and that he could come in from the wet and cold. He insisted that he wasn’t spying on her.

While they were arguing back and forth, the apartment building’s superintendent came over and told the spy:
“I’m supposed to be keeping an eye on you, to make sure you’re doing your job. But I have to leave my post, so I can go to the factory. I have to time-punch in, for my brother-in-law…he’s not going to work today. So go ahead, go upstairs and have some tea with the lady; I’ll tell your boss you were standing outside all the time”…so the minder came in for some tea.

It was like a scene out of Škvorecký’s Engineer of Human Souls.


#11

Read an old Soviet-era joke:

A traveler checks into a shared hotel room (who can afford a private one these days?), and is annoyed to find that the other guests in the room are staying up drinking vodka and getting louder in their criticism of the government as the night goes on.

He goes down to the front desk, orders some tea from room service, and returns to the room. Once there, he gets down on his hands and knees, crawls under the table, and says into the electric outlet, “Sergeant Smorodin, would you mind sending up some tea?” The others laugh at this, but a few minutes later fall silent and quickly go to bed when the tea shows up. Satisfied, the traveler goes to sleep.

In the morning, he awakes to find police hustling the other guests out of the room. As the last one closes the door, he says “You’re lucky, comrade - the sergeant liked your joke.”


#12

Potcuhtli Cuhtilpot, the Aztec God of Hypocrisy.


#13

Boing Boing should be ashamed!

These tweets merely reflect these journalists’ colonialist, Western notions of “convenience” and “safety” and "OH MY GOD THE ELEVATOR IS FREEFALL-


#14

Fifty one billion dollars.

That’s more than was ever spent on all of the previous winter Olympics. Combined.

If they can’t get the toilets working and the hotels finished then where did they spend it and why so poorly? Corruption is one thing when it actually comes off with few hitches, but no doorknobs?

http://thinkprogress.org/sports/2014/02/03/3239131/sochi-olympics-cost-winter-olympics-combined/


#15

I thought they were using the Olympics to launder money? It’s not like they actually spent that on the facilities.


#16

Oh, well done.


#17

Re: forced evictions - I happened to be in Petersburg for the 1994 Goodwill Games. They were rounding up homeless people and bussing them to the 101st kilometer as part of the preparations.


#18

That is impressive corruption. I wonder where that $51 billion came from. I daresay it pales in comparison to the '08 crash though. I don’t think anyone really knows how much that cost us, but its safe to say it was orders of magnitude larger than a paltry $51 billion. Let’s face it, if you want to see corruption done right, Wall Street is THE place to be.


#19

The two tales of corruption are comparable only if you’re not very good at math.

The budget for the 2002 winter games in Salt Lake City was bit over a one billion dollars. The final bill for the 2014 winter games in Sochi in still being determined, but is over fifty billion dollars.

Spot the difference?


#20

The difference, as far as I can tell, is that Mitt Romney likes to remind everyone that he’s a Christian. Putin, on the other hand, likes to remind everyone that he’s a thug.