It's stories like the pervasive hackers in Russia that probably almost let the Games' organizers feel good (almost) by distracting visitors from hearing about all the other problems that officials are responsible for.
Like the reporter who tweeted that he had three lightbulbs (a highly-prized commodity) that he'd trade for a working door handle. Or the hotel where the floor at the reception desk isn't in yet. Or the stray cats wandering through the media center. Or the reporter I heard interviewed tell of entering ones room and finding construction workers in the bed or other strangers in the room.
But the topper might be this latest one about how there are bathrooms where signs admonish people (are you ready?) not to flush the toilet paper, but put it in nearby containers instead.
But the funniest thing of all this -- by far -- has to be Russia's own refutation of journalist stories about problems in hotels. It came from Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Kozak who the Wall Street Journal reports was so upset at all the tweets and photos and articles that he explained not only that it is the journalists themselves who are causing the problems, but also how he knows it's the journalists --
"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.
Yes, you read that right. The Russian deputy minister said he knows there are no problems because the hidden cameras they have in bathrooms show that everything is okay!
Alas, Mr. Kozak didn't say anything further, because an aide stopped things before the deputy could be questioned about shower security. And the next day, the Wall Street Journal reported Russia's "correction" about the day before.
"A spokesman for Mr. Kozak later on Thursday said there is absolutely no surveillance in hotel rooms or bathrooms occupied by guests. 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."
There are two possibilities here -- 1) That if this is true, then the criticism the deputy prime minister made at journalists and visitors to discredit them was not valid. Or 2) this explanation is a crock of garbage.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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