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Tandem Toilets in Sochi Olympic Venue Despite $50Bln Budget

Published: January 23, 2014 (Issue # 1794)



  • The twin toilets at the Olympic Biathlon Center
    Photo: S. Rosenberg / Twitter

A Sochi Olympic venue has put two toilets side by side in the same stall, sending social networks buzzing about the Games organizers' extreme generosity with the commodes — or their extreme skimpiness on the partitions.

For added irony, the picture of the toilets in a men's bathroom at the Olympic Biathlon Center, originally tweeted by a BBC correspondent in Sochi, showed only one roll of toilet paper in the bathroom — positioned on a side wall and apparently out of reach from at least one of the seats.

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny seized on the picture, and reiterated that much of the Games' reported $50 billion budget had been misspent.

You may also be interested in: Putin Denies Sochi Olympics Corruption

A commentator on news and social network website TJournal said Navalny could also have said the partition between the two toilets had been "stripped," using a Russian word that is a slang term for embezzlement. Navalny had used the same word to name his RosPil blog dedicated to exposing state corruption.

Others objected to the idea that the extra toilet was a sign of the Games organizers' largesse.

"Russia is so generous that it installs two toilets side by side in its bathroom stalls," another TJournal reader said.

An Ekho Moskvy reader said that the designers had probably planned to install a bidet next to the toilet, but contractors either got confused or ran out of supplies, and put in two toilets instead.

You may also be interested in: Dutch Brass Band Considers Gay Anthem for Sochi Playlist

Some bloggers also linked the double toilets to the heightened security measures around the Olympics, which begin on Feb. 7 against the backdrop of recent suicide bombings in a nearby southern region and multiple threats of more terrorist attacks.

"Heightened security, anti-terrorism measures," another TJournal reader said. One toilet "is for a person, the other is for a security agent, clandestinely ensuring security."

Other commentators also linked the picture to the debates over Russia's "gay propaganda" ban.

"People are so perverted these days: The site of two commodes side by side makes them immediately think of gay propaganda," another blogger said, in an apparently ironic remark. "Maybe it was done for those who are afraid to conduct the process alone?"





 


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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Apr. 18


Teachers and students alike shouldn’t miss the opportunity to establish lasting contacts with Russian and foreign institutions during the 21st Education and Career Fair at LenExpo, beginning today and finishing tomorrow. Learn more about education in Russia and connect with your fellow scholars.


The Tromso International Film Festival, Norway’s largest, brings a short festival to St. Petersburg for one day only during Scandinavian Oddities, starting at 7 p.m. today at Rodina Cinema Center. Tickets for the event are 100 rubles ($2.80).


Sunday, Apr. 20


Celebrate Easter at Pavlovsk during the Easter Fair that begins today and continues through next Sunday. Visitors will have the chance to paint Easter eggs and children can take part in games as well as help decorate a tree in honor of Christianity’s holiest day.


Today is one of the final days to see the exhibit Cacti — Children of the Sun at the Peter the Great Botanical Garden. Starting Apr. 17, budding botanists will marvel at the variety and beauty of the desert’s most iconic plant.


Monday, Apr. 21


Improve your grasp of Neruda, Bolano and Marquez at TrueDA’s Beginners Spanish Lesson this evening at their location on the Petrograd Side. An experienced teacher will be on hand to help all attendees better understand the intricacies of the language and improve their accent.


Tuesday, Apr. 22


SPIBA’s Breakfast with the Director event series continues as the association welcomes Andrei Barannikov, general director of SPN Communications, to the Anna Pavlova Hall of the Angleterre Hotel this morning at 9 a.m. Attendees must confirm their participation by Apr. 21.


The AmCham Environment, Health and Safety Committee Meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. this morning in the their St. Petersburg office.