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Meeting with International Olympic Committee leadership

February 6, 2013, Sochi

Vladimir Putin met with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge, IOC Coordination Commission Chairman Jean-Claude Killy and IOC Executive Director for the Olympic Games Gilbert Felli.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak also attended the meeting.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: I just toured the Olympic facilities, the mountain Olympic cluster, and I know that your experts have already had a chance to examine them.

I first want to talk about my impressions. Overall, the work is going according to schedule. There are some issues that don’t exactly trouble us as organisers but force us to look more carefully at the work on these facilities. But overall, I repeat, work is progressing well and on schedule.

We did this today without your participation because it was an impartial look, a purely working one, and at times, our discussions today have had been hard-hitting, but that is normal. That can and should happen over the course of such an extensive project. We must set high standards for ourselves.

I would like to hear your opinion on what is happening, how the work is progressing.

President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Jacques Rogge (retranslated): Mr President, I received an excellent report from Mr Jean-Claude Killy and I suggest that he tells you about our position.

Ioc Coordination Commission chairman Jean-Claude Killy (retranslated): Mr Felli, myself and other experts have been coming here for six years now. We have watched this project take shape, we have seen how we have reached today’s phase. Indeed, it is hard to believe that the promises you made in Guatemala in 2007 have become a reality today. The work that has been done is truly outstanding.

In December, we launched the first train to Krasnaya Polyana together. The International Olympic Committee is very satisfied with the fact that this broadens the scope of winter sports.

At one of our news conferences, I said that there are few nations in the world that could implement a project of this scale in six years. The European Alpine Skiing Championships were held here two years ago and the World Championship was held last year; dozens of test competitions have already been held and not a single athlete has complained about anything. As far as we are concerned, this is a good sign.

Of course, the transition from the construction phase to the operation phase is a very sensitive, delicate juncture that requires a great deal of work. In the coming 12 months, or 365 days, we will have to operate these facilities so that the final product meets our expectations. We need to welcome the entire world successfully and ensure that the competitions are organised and hosted in a perfect way, so that everyone throughout the world recognises Russia’s efforts.

According to the experts, 80 percent of the works has been completed. There is just one facility left that requires some focused effort: the ski jump, as you know. I believe we will catch up on this delay.

I would like to say a few words about the volunteer programme; after all, Russia is not very familiar with this approach. The programme features 26 universities that recruit student volunteers to work at the Olympics and instruct them what to do. This is an excellent programme. Volunteers will be coming from 83 regions, and that is also wonderful, because that is how people meet one another.

Over the course of these six years, I have said that we must focus our efforts and not lose time. We will need to do so for the next 366 days.

In conclusion, I would like to once again congratulate everyone who has been working on this project; we have never seen anything like it.

Ioc Executive Director For the Olympic Games Gilbert Felli (retranslated): Mr President, a few words about the ski jump, since it has always been my role to exert more pressure. But I want to say that I am very impressed with how the jump tests have been conducted. This really is the only facility where a great deal remains to be done: removing soil to install spectator seats, laying six kilometres of drainage, building two kilometres of retaining walls. Indeed, here, we cannot lose a single minute.

But I am truly impressed with the fantastic amount of work that has been carried out. I have been monitoring this with Deputy Prime Minister Mr Kozak. I would like to say thank you.

Vladimir Putin: Overall, we have about 800 facilities in the works in Sochi, as an alpine resort, including all the Olympic facilities. And for some of them, we may say that it is one facility, but in fact, there may be five, six, or even a dozen or more, located inside. But we only have 13 purely Olympic sports facilities. Of course, they are the ones that get the priority attention.

Today, the volume of federal, public financing has been established at around $3 billion, if we take the dollar equivalent of the amount. An additional $3 billion is being invested by private companies, including with our financial support, first and foremost, through loans. But that money needs to be repaid.

We will now analyse the situation pertaining to the appreciation of certain facilities. To a certain extent, I think it’s justified, since we are working practically from scratch. We will carefully monitor this; I repeat, we will analyse it, and certainly do everything to ensure that the facilities are ready on time, meeting the necessary quality standards and taking into account the necessary safety measures. We will do as we agreed: we will adhere to IOC requirements as regards environmental standards. Like you, I have no doubt that all the facilities will be ready on time and meet the necessary quality standards.

As for certain individual facilities which, as I said, are taking a little longer to build, I am confident that the builders, the organisers of this work, have every opportunity to complete these facilities on time even with the adjusted timelines.

I want to thank you for your consultative assistance in our joint work. Your experts – and I am not just talking about the two gentlemen present here, who have become our friends during this time, but also the technical experts – they are certainly high-level, high-class specialists.

The technical experts do not express themselves as diplomatically as our friends at the IOC’s political level, but their assistance is good, timely, and highly competent. And I remember very well that just recently, during our previous meeting, Mr Killy told me, eye to eye, that 80 percent is already completed – or perhaps even more – but the remaining 20 percent are the most critical, and we must not lose our focus on this work; we must monitor everything that is happening on the construction sites on a daily basis.

That is precisely what we will do.

February 6, 2013, Sochi