Today’s post is all about why the Sochi Winter Olympics reminds me of Eurovision…

My friend Dave is now living in Ukraine’s capital city, Kiev. I met Dave in 1995, when I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Armenia and he was a newly returned Peace Corps Volunteer who had served in Russia. Dave had a job at a non-profit aid organization and, since there were few Americans in Armenia in the 90s, we ended up meeting. Years later, Facebook has brought us together again and I have been watching him post many disturbing articles, photos, and videos of the current political unrest going on in Ukraine. Much of what he’s posted has been scary and sobering, but Dave is not above showing off his generous sense of humor. Yesterday, he posted an article from The New Yorker that said people were being “grossed out” because they were being forced to look at half naked photos of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in their hotel rooms.

Many people actually believed the article instead of recognizing it as satire. Vladimir Putin is not known for his humility and cuddly personality, after all. The author of the article, Andy Borowitz, cleverly noted in a “quote” supposedly by Putin, “These people who are complaining about what is on their walls should be grateful… At least they got one of the rooms with walls.” Not long after I read this article from The New Yorker, I found a very funny and telling gallery of photos that supposedly show what conditions are like in Sochi right now.

Having once lived not too far from Sochi, I can attest that these photos are probably pretty accurate.

Reading about Putin supposedly forcing hapless hotel guests to look at his topless photos in their rooms made me think of an incident that occurred just before the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest. At the time, my husband Bill and I were living in Germany and we made a point of watching Eurovision when it came on television in May. Months before the 2009 contest, there was a controversy involving the song entered by the Republic of Georgia. At the time, the Republic of Georgia was reeling from a political incident that occurred in August 2008 known as the Russia-Georgia war. Georgia was also dealing with political pressure from Putin, who was concerned about Georgia’s desire to join the European Union and increase its dealings with the United States. Bill actually went to Georgia just after the brief war and told me stories of how the Georgians seemed to like Americans a lot more than Russians.

The Eurovision Song Contest is supposed to be about fostering goodwill among nations in Europe. In that regard, it’s not unlike the Olympic Games. Song entries are not supposed to be political in nature. But I’m guessing that Georgia’s Stephane and 3G couldn’t resist the urge to write a song that really said something. They wrote and performed a song called “We Don’t Want To Put In”. Though the song was eventually deemed too political, Georgia elected to withdraw from the Eurovision Song Contest rather than change the lyrics or replace the song.

The very catchy disco styled song, “We Don’t Want To Put In” by Stephane and 3G. I can’t help but think it sounds a lot like Disco Inferno by The Trampps.

When Dave posted that hilarious satirical article about Putin’s shirtless photos, I was immediately reminded of this hilarious and very ballsy entry by the Georgians for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2009. I’m sure as the Winter Olympic Games continue and more things come to light about the state of things in Sochi, the Winter Olympics may remind me even more of Eurovision. On another note, I’ve checked out more of Stephane and 3G’s music and I like it. I even went on iTunes and downloaded the many different versions of “We Don’t Want To Put In”. I guess in a way, the Sochi Winter Olympics is promoting something besides good sportsmanship and goodwill.