Updated Feb. 6, 2014 12:59 p.m. ET

Russia deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, left, and Russian Olympic Committee President Alexander Zhukov, right,smile ahead of a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the opening of a center for fans of the Russian national team in Sochi on Thursday. Mr. Kozak dismissed complaints that hotels built for the Olympics weren’t ready in time. ZUMAPRESS.com

SOCHI, RussiaRooms without doorknobs, locks or heat, dysfunctional toilets, surprise early-morning fire alarms and packs of stray dogs: These are the initial images of the 2014 Winter Olympics that foreign journalists have blasted around the world from their officially assigned hotels—and the wave of criticism has rankled Russian officials.

Dmitry Kozak, the deputy prime minister responsible for the Olympic preparations, seemed to reflect the view held among many Russian officials that some Western visitors are deliberately trying to sabotage Sochi’s big debut out of bias against Russia. “We have surveillance video from the hotels that shows people turn on the shower, direct the nozzle at the wall and then leave the room for the whole day,” he said. An aide then pulled a reporter away before Mr. Kozak could be questioned further on surveillance in hotel rooms. “We’re doing a tour of the media center,” the aide said.

A spokesman for Mr. Kozak later on Thursday said there is absolutely no surveillance in hotel rooms or bathrooms occupied by guests. He said there was surveillance on premises during construction and cleaning of Sochi’s venues and hotels and that is likely what Mr. Kozak was referencing. A senior official at a company that built a number of the hotels also said there is no such surveillance in rooms occupied by guests.

Mr. Kozak toured the giant, gleaming new media center Thursday morning, marveling at the huge workspace built specially for the thousands of journalists who have come from around the world to cover the Games.

Asked about the widely reported problems with hotel rooms not being ready for guests, he was dismissive. “We’ve put 100,000 guests in rooms and only gotten 103 registered complaints and every one of those is being taken care of,” he said. (It wasn’t clear what Mr. Kozak was counting as a registered complaint.)

In a news conference, Mr. Kozak said he had no “claims against Western or Russian journalists who are doing their jobs.” Most of the critical views of the accommodations or preparations amount to “small imperfections in the Olympic facilities and tourist infrastructure,” Mr. Kozak said, noting that it wasn’t long ago that the entire Olympic area was an “open field.”…..

Construction laborers Thursday work on the pavement of an unfinished apartment building in the mountain media village at the Rosa Khutor alpine resort near Sochi. michael dalder/Reuters

To build the facilities for the roughly $50 billion Sochi Olympics, Russia has built nearly an entire city from scratch. Organizers completed all the sporting venues, including the hockey and figure skating arenas, well ahead of time, as well as two villages for the Olympic competitors—one in the mountains and one by the sea.

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