Taking part in the meeting were, among others, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, Presidential Aide Igor Levitin, Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Southern Federal District Vladimir Ustinov, and Krasnodar Territory Governor Alexander Tkachev.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon,
We agreed to literally compare notes as we work during the final weeks of preparations for the Olympic Games.
Much has been done – almost everything – but when I say ‘almost’, this means that some things still have to be refined. The main facilities are ready, and test events have been held virtually everywhere. But we still need to talk more carefully and in more detail about, for example, the main stadium [Fisht Central Olympic Stadium] where the opening and closing ceremonies will take place. This is because the equipment needs to be installed and all the necessary preparatory work has to be done.
We need to act particularly carefully with regards to the so-called ticket programme, one we have already talked about. We must give people from different Russian regions the opportunity to attend this sporting festival, while proceeding from the assumption that pricing will be flexible, and enable people with different income levels to attend the Olympics.
Naturally, preparations for the Paralympic Games are a separate issue. We must do everything possible for our Paralympians; they are not merely courageous and talented people, they are also star athletes. In Russia they achieve simply outstanding results. And ensuring all necessary conditions for them – in addition to everything else, in addition to paying due attention to people with disabilities (and of course this is not a very relevant term for Paralympians) – represents a more pragmatic, essential interest than points, goals, seconds or medals. For us, it is more fundamental than that. We certainly have high expectations for them, and therefore must provide them with appropriate facilities for training and participating in competitions.
Yesterday we visited some facilities, and tomorrow we will continue to examine where our preparations stand in others, namely the coastal cluster in the Imeretin Valley.
Now, let’s talk in detail about all the issues I raised, and discuss problems if there are any.
I did not mention questions related to public transport and the way the city itself will function. I hope that the regional and municipal authorities will also talk about the relevant issues in this case.
Vladimir Putin: I think it is obvious not only for us, but for all observers, that an enormous amount of work – and high-quality work, as we saw today – has been carried out. The truth of this statement will be tested as we use the Olympic facilities and infrastructure. I hope that it will stand. Anyway, today it looks that way: the amount of work is clear and the quality is very good. Of course we all know this, and I do too, so why did I come here now?
A little over two months remain in the run-up to the Olympics. Still, as I already said, and you confirmed, there are some things that must be completed and polished. With such large-scale events the final stage is always the most difficult. A great deal during the Olympic Games will depend on how you pass this stage, on how we pass it together.
But before the Olympics we have New Year’s holidays and then Christmas. I want to tell you and I think this will be clear: for you the New Year begins the day the Paralympic Games end, on March 17. Your New Year will begin on March 18 – yours and that of everyone who works at Olympic venues. It is necessary that all those engaged in work to implement this large-scale – and I would even say grandiose – project understand this. I want you to work accordingly during the final stages of preparations for the Olympic Games.