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Meeting with Russia’s national bandy team

February 18, 2016, Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

Vladimir Putin met with Russia’s national bandy team that won gold medals at the recent Bandy World Championship in Ulyanovsk.

This is the fourth time in a row that the Russian national team wins the world championship. In the final game, the Russian team beat Finland.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends,

I brought you together to congratulate you on your decisive victory at the world championship. This sport is known as bandy, or Russian hockey. Naturally, if we pay a lot of attention to ice hockey, how can we not give attention to Russian hockey!

It was a truly convincing victory: you beat the Finnish team 6:1. Overall, the way I see it, it was not an easy game. However, the best thing is that this comes after a certain interval – I believe there was a period of several years when our team could not win.

Remark: There was such a period.

Vladimir Putin: And now four times in a row – this is a great success.

I want to congratulate Boris Skrynnik on his re-election as President of the International Bandy Federation, and wish him success.

The next world championship will be held in Sweden. This is also a good sign, showing the spread of Russian hockey. Unfortunately, I have to note that although Ulyanovsk was well prepared, and they have a wonderful playing field there, probably one of the best for Russian hockey, we still do not have enough roofed stadiums. I looked it up – I believe we only have 4 roofed stadiums, while Sweden has 25.

Here, both our colleagues in the Russian regions and the Sports Ministry have to see how to support this wonderful sport with such a great name – Russian hockey.

My congratulations once again to the athletes, coaches, mentors and doctors – to all those who helped you win the world championship. I would also like to congratulate your fans on your victory, as I know there were many people and it was broadcast on television on a rather large scale, and there was good media coverage. Children are sure to come to these playing grounds to practice and the sport will become more popular thanks to you. So thank you once again and congratulations on your victory.

President of the International Bandy Federation, President of the Russian Bandy Federation, Honoured Coach of Russia Boris Skrynnik: Mr President, I want to take this opportunity to personally present you with a medal.

Vladimir Putin: I have done nothing to deserve it.

Boris Skrynnik: (Presenting medal.) Without your support…

Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much.

Boris Skrynnik: Thank you very much for your support for our sport.

Can I give some background information?

Vladimir Putin: Please, go ahead.

Boris Skrynnik: Bandy, or Russian hockey, as we are positioning it, is developing in 47 of Russia’s regions, and quite actively so in 24 of them. There are 13 teams playing in the Super League, about 30 teams in the Premier League and 75 clubs based at industrial enterprises.

We have held many tournaments. Children’s tournaments for the Patriarch prize, held on Red Square, are very popular. This year, we invited children from Montenegro and they will perform at this tournament. We created a club for Russian hockey fans. There will be children in attendance from Orthodox Sunday schools – we just did this work. We teach our sport there and they, that team, will take part. We invited Muslim children and they will also participate in the Patriarch prize tournament.

Vladimir Putin: There is information showing that this type of hockey was played as early as the 10th or 11th century.

Remark: Yes, there is an engraving to that effect.

Boris Skrynnik: We have photos and books showing this. We have given you these books, they talk about all of this.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you.

Boris Skrynnik: Mr President, Russian students established the rules for this game in 1898 and began to play, for the first time in St Petersburg. There were always good, high-level teams at that time, but this is no longer true now.

Vladimir Putin: You know what we should do? We will hold a meeting of the Sports Council ahead of the Hockey World Cup. This is a different sport, of course, but nevertheless, it is an opportunity to talk about Russian hockey, about bandy. Prepare these questions as well, and we will discuss them.

Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko: Very well.

Boris Skrynnik: I’d like to add briefly about the so-called international bandy. There are 32 national federations, and 18 teams are participating in the World Cup. We have exotic nations taking part, such as Somalia; the athletes participated in the world championship in Ulyanovsk and we had an African team participate in Khabarovsk. Other participants include China, Japan…

Vladimir Putin: The women’s team went to the United States, right? To the World Cup. Let’s wish the ladies success. We will certainly await their victory.

Boris Skrynnik: Our sport is recognised by the IOC, we participate in the Asiad Games, and now we have been included in the Universiade. Just a week ago, at the Youth Olympic Games in Norway, we had our first friendly exhibition match, and we received very positive signals from the IOC, supporting our sport.

Vladimir Putin: It is a spectacular, very entertaining sport.

Boris Skrynnik: Internationally, we have also begun to develop quite actively, and we have good recognition. We are already working in the Universiade as well, with international university sports, and we have already signed an agreement with them. Japan has requested projects to build indoor rinks. China just sent letters with a request concerning the women’s World Cup, signed by the Communist Party, which states that it is ready to support this sport.

Vladimir Putin: Very good.

Boris Skrynnik: So things are developing quite actively here. There are certain problems – in the nation and in our sport. Perhaps here, my colleagues, friends and players with whom I once played could say a few words.

Russian national bandy team player Sergei Lomanov: We would like to thank you for your attention, for finding the time to meet with us. This is a historic moment. We have never had something like this in the history of our sport, when the head of state receives us and talks about bandy.

Our sport is very popular in the regions, but unfortunately, there are some problems. Not all heads of regions feel this sport is significant for our nation, and we would certainly like regions like Sverdlovsk, and the cities of Omsk and Murmansk, which have always historically had these roots…

Vladimir Putin: In outdoor spaces.

Sergei Lomanov: Yes, open rinks. Now, we simply do not have teams in this sport. Fifteen years ago, our super league had 22 teams, but today we have only 13, and half of the teams have problems with financing. We certainly try to do everything to…

Vladimir Putin: The ball is small, but the goal is large.

Head Coach of Russia’s Bandy Team Sergei Myaus: That’s why they hit a lot of goals.

Sergei Lomanov: Well, not always. It depends on the goalie and on the team.

Vitaly Mutko: They catch it with their hands.

Boris Skrynnik: It is hard to hit even at twelve metres.

Sergei Lomanov: It is really hard to get close to the goal, because the field is very long.

Vladimir Putin: What is the length of the field?

Boris Skrynnik: It is almost a football field, 110 by 65 metres.

Sergei Lomanov: The rules for playing bandy are very similar to football. We also have eleven players.

Boris Skrynnik: The tactics are the same.

Sergei Lomanov: The tactics, yes. The great football players played bandy back in the day – Lev Yashin and Vsevolod Bobrov, Trofimov. There are many great Soviet hockey players who played bandy. So we have very strong roots and a great history in our sport; we feel, I feel, that it is sometimes undeservingly deprived of attention from the media and television.

Vladimir Putin: I think so too, that is why we are meeting today.

Sergei Lomanov: Of course, we would like for more people to know about our sport and respect it.

As a native of Krasnoyarsk I would like to thank you for the instructions you issued to include bandy in the 2019 Universiade programme. I want to thank you because this is the number one sport in Krasnoyarsk: there are many people who play it, including many children, and Yenisei is a Russian champion.

Vladimir Putin: Are you feeling any progress in preparing for the Universiade there?

Vitaly Mutko: Preparations will begin this year. Last year, we had projects, estimates and design work; now we have completed this stage. On February 26, we will be submitting a resolution to the Government to allocate four billion rubles this year to begin building an ice palace, restoring a stadium to play bandy, modernise the biathlon complex – all the work is beginning.

The Government is planning to allot about 40 billion rubles towards preparing athletic and other infrastructure just for the Universiade. We will have 13 billion for athletic facilities. So there will be a great deal of support.

Vladimir Putin: Good. And it will go towards developing the city.


February 18, 2016, Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region