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Meeting with members of Russian Student Sports Clubs Association

October 23, 2014, Sochi

Vladimir Putin visited the Southern Federal Centre for Sports Training, where he met with members of the Russian Student Sports Clubs Association. Prior to the meeting, the President was briefed on the new SSCA tests, a set of exercises compiled on the basis of the GTO complex.

The activity of the Student Sports Clubs Association is directed at developing mass youth sports and popularising a healthy lifestyle. The idea to set up the SSCA was supported by the President during his meeting with representatives of sports clubs in January 2013.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, everyone.

It has been over a year since your Association was established. We said at the time that it was called upon to develop mass sports among students, who in turn, as they usually do, would give an impetus to developing mass sports and fitness all over the country.

In this short time you have accomplished a lot, possibly not everything you could have, but a lot. You have 79 clubs in 49 regions of the Russian Federation, don’t you?

Remark: In all the regions of the Federation.

Vladimir Putin: Now, please don’t…(laughter)

Remark: Not in all the regions, but in all the Federal Districts. A slip of the tongue.

Vladimir Putin: Right, a slip of the tongue.

It would be great if it were true, but unfortunately it is not. I believe it is 49 regions, though I know – they’ve just told me – that you are planning to open up clubs in 120 universities, which will practically cover the country’s entire territory.

I was just saying earlier that I was reading materials from the Defence Ministry archives about the meetings held after some major military conflicts. One of the army commanders – and this was back in 1940, can you imagine? – writes: “Unfortunately, our soldiers are clumsy, they run out of steam very quickly and lack proper physical training. We must urgently develop mass sports and fitness all over the country.” Imagine, this was 1940, a year before the Great Patriotic War.

I don’t want to stress the military component, important as it is, but the nation’s health is undoubtedly more important. This is of great significance in conditions of present-day economic and social development. Clearly, only the states that give special attention to humanitarian components can win in the current powerful competition, which has always been a factor in international life, but is now growing stronger. These components are healthcare, sports, the humanitarian sphere in the broadest sense of the word, science and education.

These components will give us a clear competitive edge. Why? Because intellectual resources are becoming the main development factor, and these are impossible without physical fitness.

Therefore, what you are doing is not just some fun, but an extremely important state mission. I hope that university administrations share this view. I know this is the attitude of the heads of corresponding ministries and agencies in Moscow. I expect that you will have the complete support of all the authorities whose duty it is to support sports and fitness at all levels everywhere across the country.

I want to avoid long speeches; I would rather listen to you: how your work is going, what needs to be done additionally to make it a success. The Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office is here, along with heads of the nation’s major universities, and of corresponding ministries – the Ministry of Sports and the Ministry of Education [and Science]. We will all hear you out and will be ready to answer any questions you may have or requests that you may have come up with during the first year of your work.


October 23, 2014, Sochi