Red Corner: Toilet Summit in Moscow

I thought this was a joke, or modern art exhibit, but apparently it’s not.

Today is the third day of a four-day toilet festival in Moscow. Technically, it’s the 6th annual World Toilet Summit sponsored by the WTO, or World Toilet Organization. The event “highlights topics concerning city toilets, toilets for children, toilets for social integration, and non-plumbing technologies.” And yes, I reiterate, they’re serious.

Apparently the event, which was first held in Singapore, was moved to Russia to take advantage of a toilet infrastructure still hurting from communist times. The Moscow Times reports that the toilet legacy of communism means a “wide open market with huge growth potential.”

More than 60 companies from around the world have gathered to share their expertise and display products that will be showcased in a handful of different exhibitions. I’ve highlighted just a few of the more interesting from the Toilet Summit Website:

• External and internal engineering network: construction, exploitation
• Toilet paper
• Air cleansing. Ventilators, air-conditioners
• Devices for invalids, pots and pampers
• Toilet lighting
• Architecture and design of toilets
• Special literature, normative acts
• Toilet accessories for domestic animals

Oh man, they really could have used some of this western technology on my first visit to the Soviet Union in 1991 when the toilet paper holder in my hotel bathroom held nothing but torn pages from a student’s textbook, when I was lucky.