What’s that, Olympic Games attendee? You’ve got a dirty hotel room with beers under the bed in Sochi? Your room has no hot water, or no water at all? Well, your complaints are aimed at trying to sabotage Sochi’s shining moment, said one official in response to Western critics.
The Wall Street Journal happened to be in the right place at the right time while on a tour of the new media center in Sochi this morning with Dmitry Kozak, the deputy prime minister responsible for the Olympic preparations. He seems to share the view of many in Russia who think such criticism come from a Western bias against the country.
“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.
When asked again about the problems circulating in the media with ill-prepared hotel rooms, the WSJ says Kozak was dismissive.
“We’ve put 100,000 guests in rooms and only gotten 103 registered complaints and every one of those is being taken care of,” he said.
So stop worrying about that toilet, Mr. Journalist! Apparently there’s a camera in your hotel room, even if there isn’t a lobby downstairs.
And besides, any issue is a tiny one when you consider that the entire Olympic area was recently an “open field.”
“The realization of such a project is an enormous victory for the entire country,” Kozak said. “As we say in Russia, victors don’t get blamed.”
A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin sounded a bit more apologetic about the situation in an interview earlier this week, chalking up hotel complaints to basically, “different strokes for different folks.”
“In fairness, I would ask everyone to recall the reports from international and our domestic media about various Olympics,” the spokesman said. “Everywhere someone doesn’t like the food, someone doesn’t like the hotel, someone thinks the mattress is too hard, etc. That is, such complaints accompany all Olympics. But the guest is always right and the organizer is obliged to listen to these complaints.” He added he’s sure Sochi’s organizers are working around the clock to fix the “flaws.”
Russian Officials Fire Back at Olympic Critics [Wall Street Journal]