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Sochi twin toilets: Does Russia really use communal toilets?

A photo take at the Sochi Olympic veune showing a cubicle with twin side by side toilets has gone viral, the Toronto Star reported on Wednesday.

The BBC photo was taken from the Biathlon Centre. It was tweeted by BBC Moscow correspondent Steve Rosenberg. That BBC tweet was picked up by opposition leader Alexei Navalny and others.

Related story here on the toothpaste alert for travelers to Sochi.

Navalny in turn asked how the budget for the games, estimated to be about 51 billion dollars has been spent.

Some even linked the side-by-side twin toilets to the recent debate over gay rights in Russian.

In the original tweet, BBC cameraman Max Lomakin wrote "Seeing double in the Gentlemen's Loo at the Olympic Biathlon Centre," our correspondent wrote in his original tweet.

Retweeting the photo, Navalny replied: "This is a men's toilet in a Sochi Olympics media centre for 1.5bn roubles [£27m; $45m]."

"Two toilets - 28,000 roubles," a blogger wrote. "Olympic media centre - 1.5bn roubles. Global embarrassment - priceless."

Some tweeters quipped about Russia’s "gay propaganda", which led to calls from international campaigners to boycott February's games.

"This is how they understand the needs of sexual minorities," one person tweeted.

The Biathlon Centre, where the photo was taken, was finished about two years ago.

"The building is one of the biggest and most comfortable structures of its kind in the world," a company representative told Russia's Interfax news agency at the time.

Toilets without privacy stalls area unusual in European parts of Russia, it is not uncommon in eastern parts of the country.

One tweeter noted that the Sochi twin toilets are what you would expect in an army barracks, not in a state-of-the art facility.