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International Forum Russia – Country of Sports

October 10, 2018, Ulyanovsk

At the 7th International Forum Russia – Country of Sports Vladimir Putin took part in the plenary session titled Physical Education and Sports: New Development Targets.

More than 3,000 people from Russia and other countries, including heads of federal and regional government bodies, leaders of world sports, as well as representatives of the Olympic movement and international sporting organisations, attended the forum.

Earlier, Vladimir Putin sent the participants, organisers and guests of the forum a message of greetings.


Speech at the plenary session Physical Education and Sports: New Development Targets at the 7th International Forum Russia – Country of Sports

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Dear guests, friends, ladies and gentlemen,

I am very pleased to welcome all the participants and guests of the International Forum Russia – Country of Sports. This year it is dedicated to the promising aspects of promoting fitness and sport, and it is important that representatives of various countries want to set new tasks and establish new approaches for the future together.

A professional dialogue between athletes, public activists and sport specialists stresses the unity of the global sport family and will allow for building the most effective models of its development and for developing the most efficient forms of support from the government, businesses and all interested partners.

In Russia, issues related to sport and fitness are absolute priorities. We promote the values of a healthy and active lifestyle in society, among all generations. Sport determines longevity and quality of life, and provides a wide range of opportunities for personal and professional fulfillment.

The job of federal, regional and municipal authorities is to create conditions for the development of mass sport, ensure access to sport facilities and adapt the infrastructure of cities, towns and villages to sport, to make them convenient to engage in sport.

It is important to make better use of the potential of public-private partnership both in building sport facilities and in using them afterwards.

The Governor has just spoken about several facilities here in Ulyanovsk. The idea is for an investor not only to put money into the construction of a sport complex or arena but also to take part in their further development.

Some good examples include projects that have been planned for this year in Altai and Tatarstan, and the Ice Palace in Buryatia that may give an impetus to the development of the infrastructure of the entire republic.

A network of physical fitness and sport clubs in residential, and work and study areas and, of course the revived GTO programme (Ready for Labour and Defence) that resolves tasks of both public sport and the training of sport reserves, are also aimed at promoting a healthy life style.

The road from a GTO badge to an Olympic medal is uphill but straight. The main point is for sport educational organisations to work consistently and smoothly regardless of affiliation and to use the same methods.

Naturally, large-scale competitions occupy a special place in the development and promotion of sport. I would like to note that after the Universiade in Kazan, the Olympics in Sochi and the FIFA World Cup, sport club membership has sharply increased, growing many times over.

We certainly counted on this when we competed for the right to host these events and organised these large sports competitions. I hope this trend will continue next year when Russia hosts the World Winter Universiade and the World Boxing Championships, and if it hosts the World Volleyball Championships in 2022 and the Junior and Main Hockey Championships in 2023. We intend to offer a special sports tournament to our partners in  BRICS and the  EAEU. Overall, we are interested in the world’s best athletes meeting each other more often, competing and being friends. We are interested in developing sports exchanges.

Outstanding athletes are an important example for the younger generation regardless if they are still competing or have retired from their career. These people are symbols of the true ethos of sport, will and unity of sports. Of course, they have earned universal respect.

I would like to note the Foundation for the Support of Russian Olympians. For 13 years, the Foundation has been implementing programmes for winners of Olympic Games; it helps them receive their second degree at leading universities. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the members of the Foundation and wish them further success in their activities.

Supporting honoured veterans, training exceptional young people, promoting mass sport and establishing easily accessible infrastructure are tasks that must definitely be envisaged in Russia’s strategy for fitness and sports development for 2021–2030. The Government must approve this no later than 2020.

Strengthening international cooperation must be part of the overall goal. Russia has always strived for the most constructive and comprehensive cooperation with sports organisations around the world. Russia has been progressively fulfilling its commitments, including the countering of doping.

This is a sensitive area, but I cannot ignore it. We are determined to establish one of the best anti-doping systems in the world. In order to do this, we have developed and are now implementing a national programme. We believe this to be a matter of principle for Russia and for the entire world.

Yes, of course, we have seen flaws in our anti-doping system, but I would like to note that these are not only our internal problems. They have demonstrated obvious flaws in the entire international anti-doping system.

We agree with our partners who say changes are necessary in this area. We believe that this work should be carried out within UNESCO as part of the corresponding International Convention, with the more substantive involvement of the Olympic movement’s key participants: the International Olympic Committee, international sports federations and national Olympic committees.

Of course, we all need common rules, transparent, just and equal for all the athletes. World sport and its future need them.

Based on the Olympic Charter and international legislative acts, taking into consideration the opinions of international sports federations and complying with national laws, we can show concern for sport and its great humanitarian mission, for today’s generation and generations to come.

Let me wish you success and all the best. Thank you for your attention.

October 10, 2018, Ulyanovsk