How embarrassing it must have been for the Russians when they read what foreign journalists were saying about their hotel accommodation at the 2014 Winter Olympics at Sochi. Some members of the press were shocked to find there was no heat, dirty water, doors without doorknobs or locks and toilets that didn't work. And it didn't take long for them to send those images around the world.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, the man responsible for the Olympic preparations made an awful blunder. "We have surveillance video from the hotels that show people turn on the shower, direct the nozzle at the wall and then leave the room for the whole day" he said. Videos in the bathroom?
Dmitry Kozak (left)
It could have been an honest mistake and to give him the benefit of the doubt, apparently there were cameras installed during the construction period of the city and he could have been referring to those, but memories of Putin and the antics of the KGB still linger on.
A spokesman for Mr Kozak said later there was absolutely no surveillance in hotel rooms or bathrooms occupied by guests and when asked directly about the problems of unfinished rooms, he said "We've put 100,000 guests in rooms and only had 103 registered complaints and every one of those is being taken care of." What Mr Kozak probably doesn't realize is that people looking at these pictures still want the Games to be a success and wish them well.
Anti-gay Russian culture forced Putin to push through a new law. Anyone found guilty of supplying propaganda to a minor (under 18) carries a prison term. Russian police also have the right to arrest any foreign national they suspect is homosexual or pro-gay, and detain them for up to 14 days. Although homosexuality is legal in Russia and has been for years, this new law has outraged the West.
The Russians don't seem to understand what freedom is all about and are not prepared to put it to the test. At the moment, the future of Ukrainians lies in the hands of only one country - mother Russia - and Putin wants to keep it that way. Common sense tells them they have to reach out to the rest of the world for better prospects but in Putin's mind, he sees the possibility of an important ally being wooed away by the West.
One of the most distressing things about Suchi for the athletes is the stray dog problem. They are everywhere. There were some horror reports circulating that the animals were being poisoned and left to die in agony on the street, although I doubt that would happen.
On top of everything else, they also have the Muslim terrorist threats coming from the Caucasus Emirate and when you put it all together, Russia has one major headache on its hands.