As the Sochi Winter Olympics are fast approaching (the opening ceremony is this coming Saturday), RuNet Echo takes a look back at some of the funnier jokes that the Russian online community made about the logo, the torch, and other Olympic accouterments during the years of preparation for the games.
1. The logo itself has been the butt of various memes, the most ubiquitous of which is its pairing with a “saw” mascot, as a play on the verb “to saw,” a Russian slang term for “embezzlement.” This is, of course, contextualized amid years of accusations of wasteful spending and embezzled funds during the construction process:
2. A more succinct joke comes at the expense of the easily parodied font:
3. Another Olympic accusation of corruption — this is one on behalf of Russia's students:
4. A 2010 competition to design a mascot to go with the logo, organized by Russia's Olympic committee, resulted in several meme-worthy entrants. This one utilizes the ancient RuNet “Превед медвед” (“Preved medved”) meme. (This meme was at one point so widespread, it has its own KnowYourMeme entry .)
5. Bears are an easy sell for Russian-hosted Olympics — ever since the lovable 1980 mascot. This entry into the 2010 contest uses the well known “Pedobear ” meme:
6. Fans of Lovecraft had their own approach:
7. And fans of the classic Soviet kid's cartoon “Cheburashka ,” their own (albeit similar):
8. The most popular entry (although it later turned out it was part of an astroturf campaign to raise contest popularity) was the Arctic hypno-toad nicknamed Zoich, created by cartoonist Egor Zhgun.
9. The mascots that were eventually selected , drew accusations of plagiarism both from Russia's last Olympics:
10. And from foreign Olympics:
11. The Sochi Olympic torch relay, plagued as it was with the flame constantly going out  [Global Voices report], also became the butt of jokes. Some pointed out its similarity to a Vodka logo:
12. Others noted the similarities between this bearded relay runner holds his torch, and the way Chechen guerrillas hold their guns:
13. Perhaps the harshest meme of them all, this Olympic Bingo sheet has been translated from the Russian original by RuNet Echo. Various versions of the meme are widespread on Russian imageboards and forums. All deal with some form of failure on the part of the Russian hosts. This, folks, is Russian fatalism at its most depressed:
Russians are fond of self deprecation. Hopefully the 2014 Winter games will prove them wrong.