Sochi : Bad news for Vladimir Putin as Sochi satire floods Internet

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Vladimir Putin stakes reputation on Olympic Games. Reuters Vladimir Putin stakes reputation on Olympic Games. Reuters
SummaryVladimir Putin stakes reputation on Olympic Games...

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

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