Bad news for Putin as Sochi satire floods internet

2014-02-07 20:07


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Moscow - Vladimir Putin's dreams of glory at the Sochi Winter Olympics are drowning in a sea of online satire poking fun at everything from the toilets to threats of a bomb attack.

The Twitter account @SochiProblems, with comments on issues ranging from supposed spray-painting of the grass to signs banning fishing in the toilets in Sochi, is vying for attention with official feeds from the Russian organisers.

The Internet is also full of jokes drawing on a wealth of material - reports of corruption around the Games, the Russian president's stance on gay rights and widely circulated photos from the Games facilities showing two toilets in one cubicle.

One post shows a drawing of five coloured toilet seats in the shape of the five interlocking rings of the Olympic Games symbol. In a play on words, it says Srochi 2014 underneath - which roughly translates as Crap 2014.

Three days after it was set up, @SochiProblems has 190 000 followers.

That is not good news for Putin as he tries to use the Games to enhance Russia's image and show the progress it has made since the end of the Soviet Union in 1991.

A cartoon on Facebook shows a worried Putin running with an Olympic torch which, instead of a flame, has a burning fuse as if it were a bomb.

One tweet declares: "Putin has personally guaranteed security for sexual minorities during the Olympic Games in Sochi." Attached is a cartoon of a ski jumper in mid-air with skis in the colours of the rainbow Gay Pride flag, surrounded by four security guards also in mid-air, pointing their rifles.

Despite Olympic chiefs' high praise for Russia's Games preparations, Moscow and Putin have attracted mostly negative publicity abroad on everything from unfinished Sochi hotels to reports that stray dogs are being poisoned in the host city.

Online criticism

Although he won a third term as president in an election in March 2012, Putin is a constant target on the Internet for Russians who are fed up with his 14-year domination of the country as president or prime minister.

Mocking the threat posed by Islamist militants who have warned of an attack on the Games, one photoshopped picture shows what looks like a group of bearded men in camouflage posing with the silver-and-red Olympic torches.

Putin has dismissed talk of widespread corruption around the Games. But a popular online joke plays on the accusations that some of the funding for the Games has been stolen or misspent, asking why a person refuses to watch the Olympics on TV.

The answer goes: "Imagine you get your salary and some dudes beat you up in a back street and take the money. Then they email you a video of the great time they had spending the money in a casino, on Blackjack and on prostitutes. Would you watch and root for them?"

A cartoon of the athletes' Olympic village in Sochi shows a sign reading "Gay athletes' quarters" being nailed to a closet door - the implication being that they are expected to stay in the closet, or not go public with their sexual preferences.

The satire has touched a raw nerve among some Russians who, like Putin, believe national pride is at stake at the Games.

"Enough is enough. This is beyond the boundaries of decency. It's a sporting event and that's what it should remain, not another excuse to have a go at Russia," one Russian official complained, but asked not to be identified.

One website has also hit back, saying it has exposed eight pictures that paint Sochi in a bad light which are either out of date or were not taken in the Black Sea resort at all.

Read more on:    twitter  |  sochi olympics  |  russia  |  social networking  |  internet

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Meet instagram star, Pumpkin the racoon

With 300 000 followers and growing Pumpkin is winning over the internet!



The cats that cost R35 000
Miley Cyrus can’t get enough of her new puppy
13 guilty pets
Meet SA's top poacher-catcher

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

Plant some seeds. Your innovative mind is on fire and your ingenious ideas may just be the seeds for future projects. You may more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.