The future of Sochi’s ‘faulty’ infrastructure

 An incomplete corner of a hotel is seen at Gorky Gorod 900 prior to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
An incomplete corner of a hotel is seen at Gorky Gorod 900 prior to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
Credit: Getty Images

Editor’s Note: The following piece is from the perspective of Metro World News reporter Alexey Shunaev.

My elevator shuddered twice when I was going down to have breakfast. The light went off for a moment, the elevator stopped and the doors opened. I took one step out and suddenly I found myself almost doing the splits. The shiny tiled ground was bizarrely awash with water. I thought to myself, “Am I on the right hotel floor?”

“Come on, it’s okay,” a repairman motions towards me from the other side of the lobby. “It’s just water.”

With the wadding gait of a penguin, I crossed the pool and got out of the building, tiptoeing past half a dozen women drying the floor with big duster cloths. I asked the handyman about the faulty elevator, wondering if its woes were caused by the lake in the lobby.

“Listen, you got a bit of a shake, but not by the electricity, right? So don’t worry. The elevator will behave like that until April, then they will do something about it,” the man said.

I protested, saying it’s already a recipe for a disaster, but the man retorted, “I’m just a sanitary engineer,” before muttering some offensive word about the Olympics.

After breakfast, I spoke to a couple of maintenance men hanging outside the hotel lobby. “Everything has been cleared and fixed,” one of them said.

“What about the water pipe?” I asked, to which they replied, “Oh, we don’t know, we are just carpenters.”

“I hate this Olympics,” a security guard by the hotel said, after I asked on how he feels being a part of the big event. “Why here? What for? Austria, Switzerland, they are perfect places. Why in Russia? Who will come here after the Games?”

I wanted to find out more of his thoughts. “What do you think they will do with all infrastructure?” I asked.

“The only reasonable option is to dismantle them and sell the territory,” he replied. “The hotel buildings could become nice dormitories for students, but I’m afraid the houses will not last. If something keeps breaking right now, then what will happen in a year’s time when people are living here permanently?”


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