Sochi Olympics 2014: Are There Surveillance Cameras in Russian Hotel Shower Rooms? (VIDEOS)
By Vittorio Hernandez | February 7, 2014 10:47 AM EST
Russian officials' love affair with the toilet continues to titillate the public observing all the funny and horror stories coming out of media days before the official opening of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games on Friday, Feb 7.
Tourists take a shower after bathing in the Dead Sea resort of Ein Bokeq
A slip of the tongue by a major public official even brought the fascination for toilets to a higher level by including the shower within their sphere of influence.
In response to the criticisms that many hotel facilities in Sochi are ill-prepared to handle the volume of athletes, media and tourists for the international sports competition, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak inevitably gave a hint that cameras may have been installed in hotel showers.
Responding to perception that some Western visitors are attempting to put down their Russian hosts, Mr Kozak quipped, quoted by The Wall Street Journal, "We have surveillance video from the hotel that shows people turn on the shower, direct the nozzle at the wall and then leave the room for the whole day."
The statement appears to confirm the little value that Russian officials give to privacy in the toilet and bathroom, initially triggered by images of twin toilet seats in a single cubicle.
An observant aide of the deputy PM, aware of the implications of the statement, pulled a journalist away from the glib official before the reporter could throw a follow-up question about the Big Brother-style in Russian hotel showers and invited the media person to a tour of the media centre.
Later, a spokesman for Mr Kozak clarified that this are no surveillance cameras on hotel rooms or showers, but during the construction and cleaning of the sporting venues and hotels, officials made a surveillance of these facilities.
One of the hotel builders confirmed the spokesman's statement.
Mr Kozak also tried to debunk the perception that the hotel rooms are not ready since 100,000 guests have been placed in rooms and only 103 complaints have been received which are all being addressed.
Despite the clarifications, it appears the Russians would have a difficult time erasing the negative image of Sochi as host city due to the initial impressions created by the twin toilet.
In fact, even if the error was corrected, it has spawned several viral toilet fake photos on the Internet ranging from half toilet seats to yellow water coming out of taps and more communal toilet facilities. The Web site Gizmondo clarified that while some of the toilet images are real, they are either not really in Sochi or Russia at all, or were old photos taken long before the Sochi construction began.
To contact the editor, e-mail: