Russia's laws on gay rights have drawn significant international criticism, while environmental campaigners have raised objections about the level of construction and the cost of the Games has soared beyond initial projected figures.
In an apparent effort to contain the dissent that may manifest during Russia's showpiece Games, the IOC said it would create a space in which protest would be permitted.
The IOC executive board received an update on planning on Tuesday from organising committee president and chief executive Dmitry Chernyshenko.
According to an IOC statement: "The executive board also received news that, after discussions with the organising committee, the authorities plan to set up a protest zone in the city of Sochi."
According to the IOC, its president Thomas Bach "welcomed the development and the fact that people will now have an opportunity to express their views and freely demonstrate their opinions in Sochi".
The IOC also said rule 50 of the Olympic charter, in which it is stated that "no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas", was discussed at its meeting.
The rule also states: "No form of publicity or propaganda, commercial or otherwise, may appear on persons, on sportswear, accessories or, more generally, on any article of clothing or equipment whatsoever worn or used by the athletes or other participants in the Olympic Games..."
Any athlete breaking rule 50 could be subject to disqualification under the charter.
The IOC added in its statement on Tuesday: "As with previous Games where similar guidelines were produced, the (executive board) noted that the rules are put in place to protect athletes and the special atmosphere of the Olympic Village and venues."
The Sochi-hosted Winter Olympics runs from February 7-23.