A BBC correspondent tweeted a photo of a men’s stall with two commodes side by side in Russia’s Sochi Olympics Biathlon Center. This obvious foolishness prompted the opposition leader to question President Vladimir Putin’s legitimacy. He said that it just went to show that the $50 billion in cash that had gone into building the infrastructure for the visiting athletes was not being put to good use.
"Seeing double in the Gentlemen's Loo at the Olympic Biathlon Centre," BBC correspondent wrote in his original tweet. Retweeting the photo, Mr Navalny commented: "This is a men's toilet in a Sochi Olympics media centre for 1.5bn roubles [£27m; $45m]."
The picture is not photo shop material as is evident by the reflection of the correspondent in the reflection. It caused much toilet humor and even provoked discussions over gay rights in the Soviet-sphere. And the really ludicrous thing was that there was only a single toilet paper roll between the two commodes.
The Biathlon Center had been the responsibility of the gas firm Gazprom. And while the premises are quite large and well-furnished, this blunder made all the outer impressions go to the dogs. Although there are such things as communal washrooms in Russia’s backward regions, the modern part of the country is not like that at all.
But this almost surreal mistake may be the undoing of the respect that the President and Prime Minister of Russia were supposed to command by hosting the Olympics in 2014 at Sochi.