13 December 2014

Tones of broken glass, dirt and decay smell are conditions under which two bears have to live in Russian city of Sochi where the 22nd Winter Olympic Games took place.

Whilst more than £31 bn was spent on infrastructure improvement in the city, which was visited by more than 2850 Athletes from 89 countries, two bears are hardly surviving in a cell outside a restaurant in the heart of the city.

For the last 20 years two bears are kept behind the bars in a small Georgian cuisine restaurant to entertain the visitors. The bears can hardly survive because of the lack of food and absence of veterinary help. The owner of a restaurant said in the interview to journalists: “beer is good for the bears because of the Sochi climate”.

Another “attraction” is to park a vehicle in front of the cells and leave the lights shining straight on the bears, in order to make fun of their reaction! Unfortunately, such amusement caused a horrifying result: one of the bears went blind and another one can hardly see.


In 2012, local activists organised a protest with more than 100 participants, to free the bears. As a result, a local prosecutor started an investigation and verified that bears live under unsanitary conditions and do not get enough care. However, the case did not go any further and the suffering of the bears continues to this day.

The owner of the restaurant said: “It is not my concern what visitors are doing to the bears. I am not giving them’ I give them food and water and I do not to anyone because they are my property.’understand which type of claims can be made.”


According to Lyudmila Martynova, lawyer from Sochi, such condition and treatment of bears falls under Article 245, Animal Cruelty, of the Russian Criminal Code. In this case the removal of bears will be absolutely legal. However, the problem is that at the moment none of Russian rehabilitation Centres are not ready to accept two bears.

Learn more about Bears Rehabilitation in English here , in French here and here

See the video here

Update: That authorities are prepared to confiscate the bears immediately, if there is a home for them. If nothing will be found they will euthanise them.

Big Hearts Foundation, a Uk charity helping animals in Russia, is looking for any publicity for this atrocity abroad and any place that would welcome the 2 bears. Feel free to e-mail us at .