President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Medvedev, as you know, the Presidential Council for Sport met just recently. Before and after this meeting, we discussed the additional steps we should take to boost sports development. Much has already been accomplished over recent years, but, I hope, there is yet more work ahead. Most important is the development of mass sport, although we cannot neglect top-level sport either.
I know you have some proposals on this subject. Please, go ahead.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev: Mr President, acting on the instructions you gave after the Council meeting, the Government drafted a proposal for optimising Russia’s sports management system. I would like to present it to you so you can make a decision.
The substance of our proposal is to ensure that sport, as one of the primary areas of social activity, has better representation in the Government. This goes for mass sport, as you said, top-level sport, and sports infrastructure development in general. We therefore propose adding to the Government a Deputy Prime Minister responsible for sport, physical fitness, tourism and youth policy, as these are all interrelated sectors. These sectors all used to come under the oversight of a single ministry. We propose having one person in the Government concentrate fully on these issues. Currently, the other Deputy Prime Ministers oversee these issues, among other responsibilities, but our proposal would make it possible to free up human resources specifically for sports management.
I would like to nominate Vitaly Mutko to the post of Deputy Prime Minister. He knows this area well and is capable of resolving this and other tasks.
If you agree, Pavel Kolobkov would be the best candidate to the post of Sports Minister. Mr Kolobkov has experience on the post of Deputy Minister and worked 5–6 years, I think, in the Ministry in that capacity. Before that, he was involved in public affairs and was a member of the Public Chamber. He has devoted much time to sport as he used to play sport professionally and is an Olympic champion.
Vladimir Putin: Which sport were you a champion in?
Pavel Kolobkov: Fencing.
Vladimir Putin: Fencing? Let’s hope that this will help you in your day-to-day work and in contacts with the international sports organisations. (Laughter).
Pavel Kolobkov: Thank you very much.
Thank for you for your trust. I will do everything to live up to your hopes.
I would like to take this chance to thank Mr Medvedev and you, Mr President, for your constant support for sport and the attention you give to physical culture.
This attention is tremendously important for us. We will carry out all your instructions regarding mass and top-level sport.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Medvedev, you can draft the executive orders regarding the Government and these personnel matters. I am ready to sign them in the nearest future.
Dmitry Medvedev: Fine, Mr President, we will get onto this with the Presidential Executive Office and will shortly have these documents on the changes in the Government structure and the personnel decisions ready for your signing.
Vladimir Putin: I wish you good luck, Mr Kolobkov.
Pavel Kolobkov: Thank you.