Before the meeting, the President was shown the layout of the facilities under construction for the 2017 Universiade, including mock-ups of a new airport complex, a sport training centre, a sport arena and a downhill skiing centre.
The President also visited Biathlon Academy sport complex and met with the winners of the 28th Winter Universiade 2017 that took place in Almaty.
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Excerpts from transcript of the meeting on preparations for Winter Universiade Krasnoyarsk 2019.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,
Today we will be discussing preparations for the 2019 Universiade that will take place here in Krasnoyarsk. This will be the second time that Russia has hosted a Universiade and the first Winter Universiade for the country. Of course, this will not only be a major sports event for the Siberian region, but for the whole country.
We already know that holding sports competitions of this scale and magnitude provides a powerful incentive for infrastructure development and investment in the host region. The Olympics in Sochi and the Universiade in Kazan changed these cities, creating opportunities to upgrade not only the sports infrastructure, but also the transport, tourist, cultural and social infrastructure.
It is important to note that all funds invested by the government and all our efforts have paid off. There were many doubts about the post-games use of the sports facilities in Sochi and even in Kazan, but they are probably more effective than similar facilities in the other global cities that hosted such events.
All these facilities are working to full capacity. And the transport infrastructure, communications, water supply and discharge systems, purification facilities and electricity networks are working to the benefit of the people. I hope they will continue working in the future.
Krasnoyarsk, the easternmost million-plus city in Russia and Siberia’s largest economic centre, deserves to be given a new image and new development resources. It has proved its right to become a major sports centre by successfully holding large international competitions.
Today we had another look at the construction plans, and I really liked the layout. All the facilities will be located in a compact group within walking distance from each other near the city, in fact, just a few kilometres from the city centre. It will be very easy for the people to use these sports facilities. And they will give a powerful boost to the development of Siberian Federal University.
One large event – the World Ski Orienteering Championships – will begin in Krasnoyarsk in a few days, on March 5. Winter sports are extremely popular in Siberia, including Krasnoyarsk, and we also know about the sports victories of people from Siberia and Krasnoyarsk, victories that added to Russia’s sports glory.
I have no doubt that this demand will help create a strong volunteer corps in time for the Universiade, the more so that the event organisers have at their disposal the faculty and students of Siberian Federal University, which will be the central base of the upcoming competition and will take over many sports and social facilities after the Universiade.
I would like to say that our plans for Universiade have an additional and very important element. The people of Krasnoyarsk expect us to build not only modern sports facilities but also new roads, hospitals and residential blocks, which will be used by athletes during the games and by city residents later, as well as a new airport.
They – I mean city residents – have reasons to hope that their urban environment will become safer and more comfortable. I want to say yet again that we must live up to these expectations. We cannot disappoint the people, as we agreed more than once.
Fulfilling our obligations to the international sports community is no less important. We are working to prepare the Universiade in close cooperation with the International University Sports Federation (FISU). FISU President Oleg Matytsin, who is our compatriot, will tell us his opinion of the preparations for the games.
I would like to stress that the authorities are closely monitoring preparations for the World Student Games and have earmarked considerable funds for them. Federal budget allocations for the planning, construction, renovation and major repairs of sports facilities amount to over 14 billion rubles. In addition, we have designated 3.6 billion rubles for transport infrastructure, 7 billion rubles for healthcare facilities, and 6 billion rubles for the games village.
Allocations equalled 8.9 billion rubles in 2014–2016 and 22.2 billion rubles in 2017–2019. In all, the aggregate budget of the Universiade is 40.5 billion rubles and includes not only the construction and renovation of sports facilities but also a cultural programme and the training of volunteers, as I said. This is a great deal, and so we expect a proportionate result from these investments.
We have two years left before the Universiade, which is not that much given the scope and diversity of the objectives we have set. We need to understand how, to what extent and how well all the initiatives under this project are being implemented, and whether all the deadlines are being respected at every stage, which is also important.
On a sadder note, so far there are questions regarding the progress of these efforts. Of 34 facilities, 12 are two to four months behind schedule, including some sport and medical facilities. Specifically, there are delays in the construction of facilities at the regional clinical hospital, two transport infrastructure locations and a number of sports facilities.
Let’s discuss all this in detail today. Of course, I have all this information in my files, but I would still like to hear your perspective. We need to go through all these issues and look at the situation with tenders and how these projects have been organised. We need to catch up and most importantly prevent projects from falling behind in the future.
Let me draw your attention to the fact that, according to preliminary estimates, delegations from 50 countries, as many as 3,000 delegates, are expected to take part in Winter Universiade 2019. We must do everything it takes for this celebration of student sports to be held at the highest level, once again showing Russia’s openness and hospitality, our readiness to establish constructive partnership ties with all our friends.
Another issue I wanted to raise has to do with clean sport. I am referring to the anti-doping programmes. Mr Vitaly Smirnov [Honourary Member of the International Olympic Committee, Head of the Independent Public Anti-Doping Commission] and I just had a conversation on this issue. I would like to thank him for the efforts undertaken by his commission in this area.
We know the latest assessments from the officials at WADA and our colleagues from the IOC, who note that the McLaren Commission had inaccurate translations or inadequate evidence. Let me say again, and we said it repeatedly, that Russia has never had, and I hope never will have, a state system supporting doping. On the contrary, Russia will only combat doping.
Of course, and naturally enough, there is this issue of claims regarding scratches of some kind on some of the test samples. We do not understand what kind of evidence can we talk about because when we provided the test samples there were no complaints. If there was a problem with scratches of whatever kind, this should have been noted in the relevant reports, but there was nothing of this sort.
In other words, these samples were stored somewhere, and we cannot be held responsible for the storage conditions. But let me come now to my main point. The main point is that we must pay heed to what this independent commission says, despite the shortcomings in its work. We must pay heed to its work and its results, and to WADA’s demands, because we need to acknowledge that there are established and identified cases of doping here, and this is a totally unacceptable situation.
What this means is that our existing anti-doping monitoring system has not worked effectively, and this is our fault, and is something we need to admit and address directly. I hope very much that the Investigative Committee will see the needed investigation through to its completion and will identify all those responsible for this situation.
As you know, we are putting into place a new anti-doping system. It will be transferred from the Sports Ministry and Government oversight to an independent organisation, as many countries have done, and not in any figurative sense, but quite literally. The laboratory will be located on premises belonging to Moscow State University, and we will help them to obtain the modern equipment, technology and specialists they need. I hope that we will no longer have any swindlers, who organise doping programmes themselves and then flee abroad. I hope that our independent specialists and foreign specialists will help us to develop a strict and effective anti-doping system.
I hope too that Vitaly Smirnov’s commission as a public organisation will continue its work to supervise the anti-doping organisations’ work here in Russia. Of course, we must also work to ensure that doping does not arise in youth and student sport. These young people are just at the start of their sports careers. Let me say once more that we will do everything needed to organise positive, active and effective work with all our partners, including WADA and the International Olympic Committee.
Let’s start our work. I give the floor to Mr Mutko.
Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko: Mr President, colleagues,
As you noted, Mr President, there are exactly two years to go until the opening of the 29th Winter Universiade Krasnoyarsk 2019. It will start on March 2 and run for 10 days. There will 78 sets of medals up for competition in 11 different sports. As you recall, there were eight compulsory sports, and then after consultations with you and recommendations, we decided to include two demonstration sports, particularly bandy. They have been included in the programme.
More than 3,000 athletes from 50 countries will come to Krasnoyarsk, and we expect audiences of around 170,000 people. The most recent estimates from Almaty show that around 1 billion people watched the 2017 Universiade. This is a documented fact. I hope that we will have similar results.
Vladimir Putin: That’s a solid figure.
Vladimir Mutko: Very solid indeed.
Preparations are going ahead at routine pace, as planned. Acting on your executive order of 2014 and our obligations to the FISU, the Government has approved the organisational and legal decisions, established an organising committee, approved a preparation programme for the event, drafted the relevant concepts and plans that we need to carry out, and established an executive director’s office. The mechanism has been launched. Of course, we are drawing on our experience of holding past universiades, and the Olympics, and we have abundant experience here. In general, the organisational programme has been drafted and is underway.
As far as concrete results go, we have 42 items in our programme and we have already completed 37. The preparation programme is going very well.
The FISU is giving us a lot of practical help. They have made several inspection visits, and they saw practically all of the tracks and facilities and made their recommendations. Soon, the entire FISU headquarters and their colleagues, who organised the universiade in Almaty, will come here, and we will then finalise everything and adjust and approve the final operational plans. I want to take this opportunity to thank Mr Matytsyn [President of FISU] for this support.
Work continues on preparing for the sports events and preparing the sports facilities. This is complex and large-scale work and from time to time we encounter problems. As you noted in your opening remarks, we are behind schedule on five events, and this concerns above all the concept of putting the universiade heritage to use. We agreed to approve these plans during the second quarter. We are not hurrying on this for the simple reason that the event will leave Krasnoyarsk with a substantial heritage, and perhaps it could have more than just a local student sport or regional dimension. It could be part of work to build a number of interregional centres and federal centres, given the proximity to Korea and the Asian region with its great potential, and the fact that we are building unique facilities here.
Another moment concerns the concept plans for the opening and closing ceremonies. We have not finalised them yet because we had to make decisions about changing the overall approach. We watched the latest opening and closing ceremonies. We understand your view that it would not make sense to throw colossal sums into holding huge and pompous ceremonies, but that the events should be solid and worthy.
We have decided that the ceremonies should take place at the new Platinum Arena, which is under construction. The Government and the organising committee will settle this matter over the coming months. We have three concept plans for the ceremony and we will approve them. The budget has already been decided. I hope that we will settle and close this matter within the coming month.
In conclusion, I want to mention something that you spoke of too, namely, that the first test competitions will start at the Biathlon Academy in four days’ time. Our test world championship in ski orienteering will start, with 150 participants representing 22 countries. This will enable us to put the student campus through real tests now. The participants will live at the university dormitories and will compete at the Biathlon Academy. We will be able to test all aspects of logistics and transport. I am sure that this will help us to resolve all the preparation tasks. We have a big programme of tests drawn up and will carry it out.
Of course, Krasnoyarsk offers a unique urban concept too. Unlike Almaty, it is a very compact city and the main facilities are located 10–15 minutes, maximum 20 minutes, from the Universiade village. Then there is the right bank of the Yenisei, and that takes about 30 minutes to reach.
Of course, the Government and city authorities still have a lot of work to do on the road infrastructure, such as road junctions and the protocol routes. They can perhaps make use of the instruments the Government has put in place for urban development to undertake the necessary urban development work, roads and road infrastructure, beautifying yards and building entrances, and so on.
I want to end by saying that we have no worries or doubts regarding the preparations. I am sure that we will be up to the task and will meet the highest standards. We will give the city a tremendous heritage and encourage people to get involved in a wide number of sports, because the unique facilities under construction here will be used not just by the city residents, but also for high-level sports.
Vladimir Putin: Of course there is no doubt that we will have everything ready, but worries are inevitable when things fall behind schedule. I remember how the preparations went for the Sochi Olympics. So, without getting too stressed, let’s make up for the lost time and make sure that things stay on schedule from here. You must monitor this closely.
Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov: Mr President, we have no doubt that we will complete the preparations and put in place all the conditions needed for a successful Universiade. The Ministry of Sport is constantly monitoring the preparation programme’s implementation.
I want to mention another aspect. It is equally important to prepare the national student team for a successful performance at the event. The athletes are all aged from 17–25. The Universiade will have 11 sports and 79 sets of medals. Most of the sports are Olympic sports, and there are two non-Olympic sports – bandy and orienteering.
We plan for Russian athletes to take part in all events. The team will number around 400 people, 300 of them athletes. This will be the biggest team at the Universiade. We will be competitive in all events on the programme. Our main rivals will be, as usual, the teams from Kazakhstan, South Korea, Japan, and Ukraine. In hockey, our main rivals will be the teams from Canada and Kazakhstan.
Of course, it is most important that we will take preventive measures to ensure that none of the athletes use doping. We are already carrying out this work with the main teams, together with the federations. We are carrying out preparations for the event together with the Russian Students Union and the different sports federations.
I want to thank you for your support. I think that holding this kind of big international competition will help to develop sports in Russia, especially student sports.
Vladimir Putin: Regarding the airport, we usually obtain a good synergy when we combine transport options for getting passengers to and from the airport. The question here is of potentially building a rail link to the airport.
Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov: Mr President,
The airport is indeed the gateway for Krasnoyarsk and the Universiade. The pace at which the new terminal’s construction is progressing today gives us all hope and confidence that the construction work will be complete by the end of this year. Aside from the transport link, there are issues concerning organisation of the border control checkpoint at the airport.
The State Border programme, which is coordinated with the Federal Security Service, did originally earmark funds for organising an international border checkpoint here, but this was cut during the budget adjustments in 2016 and the investment part of the programme is now only a third of what it was.
We therefore need some financial decisions if we want the border control checkpoint to start operating at the same time as the new terminal.
(Mr Sokolov went on to speak about specific financial and organisational matters concerning the construction of the rail link to the airport terminal).
Vladimir Putin: Let’s agree that you will take responsibility for resolving this task as the organiser, but together with the Finance Ministry, the regional authorities, the airport’s operator, and Russian Railways. Get everyone together and discuss how much time you need to reach a final decision.
Maxim Sokolov: Mr President, as regards the border control checkpoint, we should have a decision within a few weeks, literally.
As for the rail link, we need to study this matter first with the designers to see, at the pre-project stage at least, just what this would look like. We will complete this work within a month.
Vladimir Putin: It’s clear that the project should pay itself off within a certain time, and this depends on the number of passengers transported, but we debated, too, whether or not it was worth building a high-speed rail link to the Sochi cluster, and we see now that it is running at full capacity.
It was the same in Vladivostok, when we discussed if there was real need to modernise the airport and build a rail link there. But now this infrastructure is in full use and working effectively. It has produced some unexpected spin-off benefits too, namely, that Vladivostok is now being used as a transfer point for other routes. You know this better than I.
I think that we must therefore look ahead, and remember, too, that Krasnoyarsk is a city of a million people in the centre of Siberia, and so it will always be able to play a needed role. If the infrastructure is in place, the people will come. So long as people in many regions of the Far East have to pay more for electricity than in the rest of the country, people will continue to leave rather than move to these regions.
Resolving one issue can help resolve many others at the same time. You should therefore work from the premise that we do need to go ahead with this project, with minimum expense and as effectively as possible, of course. We need to do it because infrastructure development is something we should always focus on. Infrastructure development is the responsibility of the state. Of course, you need to look at how to involve the operator, and the regional and federal authorities. Everyone should join their efforts on this. It’s better to plan now.
Maxim Sokolov: Yes, Mr President. The task is understood.
Vladimir Putin: As for the border checkpoints and general security arrangements, I would like to ask Mr Kolokoltsev and Mr Bortnikov to say a few words. Please.
Minister of the Interior Vladimir Kolokoltsev: Mr President, ladies and gentlemen,
The Interior Ministry, together with the Federal Security Service, is implementing an array of security measures for Universiade 2019. An estimate of available manpower and resources was made. Information about the need for additional budget appropriations was forwarded to the Finance Ministry and the Federal Security Service, which is the main organisation here. However, the decision to provide the required funding has yet to be made. I would like to highlight certain problems that came up during the preparations for the upcoming event.
(The Minister of the Interior went on to address infrastructure development issues.)
Measures to protect buildings and installations under construction against possible terrorist attack are not being implemented to the extent required. There is a lack of inspection personnel and screening equipment for imported materials and monitoring procedures. This will significantly complicate the inspection of facilities in the run-up and during the Universiade.
Furthermore, a final decision on the provision of transport services for the upcoming event has yet to be made. An operational transport plan, which should take into account the existing infrastructure, its capacity and the organisation of parking and pedestrian crossings, has not been finalised. The Interior Ministry is informing all agencies concerned on each of the aforementioned problems to ensure an appropriate response.
This is in brief what we have accomplished so far.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Bortnikov.
Director of the Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov: Mr President, I will not repeat what Mr Kolokoltsev already said about the problems involved. These are objective matters stemming from a shortage of financing, as we all understand.
This notwithstanding, we are giving due attention to ensuring the security of the facilities planned or under construction. We are making use of the experience that we gained during preparation of similar events in Sochi and Kazan. At the same time, I draw the attention of all parties concerned, especially the law enforcement and security agencies, and all directly involved in this process, to the need to ensure security and anti-terrorist protection of facilities, taking into account the current situation.
We have already set up a working group on security, headed by my first deputy, Mr Smirnov. All of the law enforcement and security agencies are represented in this group. We are working actively with the regional authorities. All security demands and requirements are brought to the attention of the subcontractors and project designers directly involved. Of course, we make compromises within the limits of what is reasonable, in order to reduce the financial costs involved.
But at the same time, I want to remind all of the decision-makers involved that the issue of security, especially anti-terrorist protection of facilities, must receive due attention. This is our common responsibility and it concerns not just how we build, but also what will happen later. We must ensure the security of the people taking part in this sports celebration.
Concerning construction and operation of a border control checkpoint, as the airport will have international status, of course, we need to earmark the funds needed for the airport to continue receiving foreigners entering the country. Developing infrastructure and a growing city and region will, of course, create new opportunities and will probably attract investment too.
I see interest from people who are already starting to operate the sites under construction. The bids are coming in. There is interest from business and other organisations that want to use this infrastructure. We will therefore do everything necessary to resolve all security issues at the proper level.
Vladimir Putin: And Mr Matytsin.
International University Sports Federation (FISU) President Oleg Matytsin: Mr President,
First of all, I would like to express our gratitude to you on behalf of my colleagues over at FISU for your support of this project, Krasnoyarsk 2019, since the beginning of the bidding campaign. We remember the meeting with you way back in Kazan, when the decision was being made. For us, the President’s personal attention to this project is a guarantee of its highest possible status.
I’d like to take advantage of this opportunity to express my gratitude for the faith that I received as a candidate, when I was nominated for FISU president. I hope I will live up to this faith, considering the experience of Kazan and the development of university sport in the Russian Federation.
Cooperation with the organising committee, the Ministry of Sport and all the relevant agencies is proceeding in a positive and constructive manner. We cooperate with all international federations because, as you undoubtedly know, all competitions are held in accordance with international federations’ requirements. And in this regard, all technical delegates who have visited Krasnoyarsk and who will visit it soon, share their experience. As a result, certain adjustments have already been made to the preparation process.
FISU has adopted a strategy that envisions two main areas.
The first is strengthening international sport cooperation with international sport organisations, such as, above all, the International Olympic Committee and international sport federations.
On the other hand, we realise that university sport today should develop primarily through partnership with universities. In this respect, the Krasnoyarsk project is meaningful, because it is a centre of student life, as it were – Siberian Federal University – and all volunteer programmes and innovative programmes will be developed here.
Last year, we signed a cooperation agreement with the International Olympic Committee, the first in our history. All our programmes are being harmonised in keeping with Agenda 2020. Thomas Bach’s words of greetings at the Almaty Universiade was a first. I am confident that this cooperation will continue.
And the second point. It is important that UNESCO and WADA take part in these programmes. I share your concerns. FISU will do its best to keep sports competitions among students clean. We adopted an educational programme jointly with WADA two years ago. This is a programme for universities, it was translated into five languages and is now being implemented in Russia and all countries where these languages are spoken.
Importantly, this is not just a sports project. Of course, this is a multi-sport competition, comparable to the Olympic Games in scale. However, more importantly for us as an international federation, this is also an educational and cultural project. Next year, the FISU International Forum will be held here in Krasnoyarsk, attended by representatives of 150 countries. We will certainly focus on Russia’s experience, above all the experience gained during the Kazan Universiade and the Sochi Olympics.
I would like to point out the experience of Krasnoyarsk in organising the Universiade, namely, the integration of businesses and government agencies. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Norilsk Nickel for becoming a FISU partner. We have launched the FISU Ambassadors programme, in conjunction with the IOC Athletes’ Commission. This takes into account the experience of the leading Olympic champions, the positioning of their life values, and the values of the Olympic movement among students. Therefore, I hope that the company will continue to be our partner and that this cooperation will be expanded.
I have no doubt that Russia has vast experience in training athletes and creating a festive spirit and atmosphere during the Universiade. Russia is an open country with a wealth of experience and rich traditions, and people will enjoy visiting us.
Vladimir Putin: I would like to thank you as well, and your FISU colleagues, for placing their trust in Russia. I am confident we will do our best to ensure that this event is held at the highest level and contributes to promoting youth and student sport.
Colleagues, there are just two years left before the event. There are still quite a few unfinished facilities. The infrastructure must be brought up to a level befitting of such a major, ambitious event.
Much remains to be done. It may seem that construction is underway and everything appears to be fine. But we all know that the most important and critical period – finishing the construction – lies ahead. This is true for all kinds of projects of this kind and this scale. To make sure everything runs smoothly, it is imperative to make timely decisions and implement plans on time.
Let’s draw up a good report of our meeting today, which would be yet another milestone in implementing all our major plans that we have outlined. Mr Mutko, please run it by our colleagues who are involved in this work, and make sure that it is indeed a properly approved document, so that no one can say later that someone was unaware of or was not ready for something. And then give it to me for signing.
I want to say some special words of gratitude to our colleagues – from Russian Platinum, Musa Bazhaev, from Basic Element, Oleg Deripaska and from Norilsk Nickel, Vladimir Potanin – for their active involvement in this work. I hope that we will keep working together to achieve our goals.
I hope that the Krasnoyarsk Territory authorities mobilise their resources and capabilities to achieve this goal. All the more so since we are well aware that sport is a critical thing, but, ultimately, everything is being done for the residents of Krasnoyarsk, the Krasnoyarsk Territory and the entire country.
This involves a significant increase in capabilities to develop sport in general and to create favourable conditions for people’s life in this extremely important region of our country. It should serve as a good impetus for developing the social sphere and creating favourable and modern conditions of life.