News / Europe

Sochi Olympics Most Expensive, but Not Best Organized

Sochi Olympics Most Expensive, But Not Best Organizedi
X
February 07, 2014 5:19 AM
Organizers of the Winter Olympics in Russia are scrambling to fix problems that are plaguing hotels and other facilities ahead of the Games opening Friday. Some foreign workers say they were operating under inhumane conditions in Sochi and then dismissed without the agreed pay. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Sochi Olympics Most Expensive, But Not Best Organized
Zlatica Hoke
Organizers of the Winter Olympics in Russia are scrambling to fix problems that are plaguing hotels and other facilities ahead of the Games opening ceremonies on Friday. Some foreign workers have alleged that they were operating under inhumane conditions in Sochi and then dismissed without their agreed upon pay.
 
Foreign dignitaries arriving in Sochi include some of the world's top leaders, such as Chinese President Xi Jinping and United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon. They are sure to enjoy red carpet treatment in the Russian resort, but others are not.
 
VOA reporter Parke Brewer said journalists have encountered a host of problems - the most serious being a lack of Internet connectivity. However, he said, that is not all.
 
"Some of the biggest problems, one experienced by my colleague John Speer as he arrived Thursday midday: when he got to his hotel room -- guess what -- there was another person in his hotel room and that's the second story I heard of that happening. There was another gentleman who traveled 23 hours. He got here at 3:00 am in the morning and got into his room, and there was another man in his bed. So there's definitely been some problems. I talked to a Russian lady reporter who had some mice scurrying around in her room. A colleague across the hall from me got locked in her room Thursday morning," said Brewer.
 
Twin toilets lacking privacy partitions have been the object of jokes in the Western media for weeks. Washington Post Moscow Bureau Chief Cathy Lally found them at the Ekaterininskiy Kvartal hotel, where she is staying. 
 
"A couple of weeks ago, there were a lot of conversations about this toilet because one was seen in the biathlon centre. Then, Russians started saying 'Oh no! It's not really like that. That was just a place where the partition has been torn down because they were turning it into a store room.’ So, they were saying that it wasn't true that there are a lot of double toilets. Well, here we have one,” said Lally.
 
A maintenance worker at the hotel, Pavel Osipov, said partitions are going to be installed.
 
"The partitions and the doors will be installed tomorrow. We apologize to the hotel guests for the inconvenience. This toilet is just not finished yet," said Osipov.
 
However, even if toilet partitions are built, problems experienced by some foreign workers who helped build the Olympic facilities will be harder to solve. More than 120 workers from Serbia and Bosnia were deported from Russia earlier this month. Some of them claim they were not paid, or received much less than the agreed amount. 
 
"I think that the orders were given that all the foreign workers had to leave Sochi for security reasons until a certain date, some say until January 5, others say until January 15. Our bosses knew about it and because we stayed after these dates, they used it as a chance to have us arrested by the police without having to pay us for our work," said Predrag Lero, a Bosnian worker who was deported from Russia.
 
Workers also said their accommodations were substandard, often lacking such basics as electric light in their rooms.
 
Moscow has spent a reported $45 billion on hosting the Games, making these the most expensive winter Olympics in history.

You May Like

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs