Russian Official Lets It Slip That There Are Cameras In the Olympic Hotel Bathrooms

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 6 2014 1:09 PM

Russian Official Lets It Slip That There Are Cameras In the Olympic Hotel Bathrooms

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Construction work at a Gorky Gorod 540 hotel is seen prior to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the Mountain Cluster on February 3, 2014 in Sochi, Russia

Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Complaints about (and photos of) the rather comically unfinished accommodations that have greeted athletes and journalists already in Sochi are pretty widespread, as my colleague Justin Peters has already documented over on Slate's Olympic blog, the Five-Ring Circus. Russian officials in charge of the Games, meanwhile, are brushing off such criticism with an unusual twin defense, claiming today that the complaints are both overblown and the result of sabotage from Westerners who can't stand to see Sochi succeed.

More noteworthy than that defense, however, is the evidence that the officials are offering up to support it, via the Wall Street Journal (emphasis added):

Dmitry Kozak, the deputy prime minister responsible for the Olympic preparations, reflected the view held among many Russian officials that some Western visitors are deliberately trying to sabotage Sochi's big debut out of bias against Russia. "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.
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See, no big deal. Nothing to see here. Visitors to Sochi, you can now rest easy on a tiny twin bed or sit on a doubles toilet, knowing all the while that your Russian hosts are watching and ready to help.

***Follow @JoshVoorhees and the rest of the @slatest team on Twitter.***

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.