Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov on the city of Sochi obtaining the status of official candidate to host the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Alexander Zhukov: The International Olympic Committee decided on Thursday to accord Sochi the status of official candidate to host the 2014 Winter Olympics. In total, seven bids from seven different countries were received. Three cities have been given the status of official candidate and will now battle it out between themselves over the coming year for the right to become the host city. Aside from Sochi, Saltzburg and the Korean city of Pyeongchang have also been given candidate status. I think that the fact that we succeeded in approving the federal targeted programme, Sochi as an Alpine Resort, has played a very important part in this positive decision for the city.
Vladimir Putin: How much money does this programme involve?
Alexander Zhukov: The programme involves a total of more than 300 billion roubles, part of which will come from the federal budget and part from the regional budget and from quite significant private investment. This programme covers all aspects of the city’s development. The federal budget funding will be used to finance infrastructure, that is to say, roads, the airport and electricity, while private investment will finance the construction of hotels and a number of sports facilities. The regional and local authorities will finance mostly the public utilities infrastructure needed to make Sochi a genuine alpine resort. If Sochi does win the bid next summer to host the Winter Olympics, the financing will be increased and more sports facilities will be built. If Sochi doesn’t succeed in its bid, the programme will be implemented regardless but on a slightly smaller scale. The Government will begin implementing the programme so that we will already be able to show the first results of our work by the time the International Olympic Committee sends its evaluation commission next February.
Vladimir Putin: Good. Why will the financing be decreased if Sochi does not succeed in its bid to host the Winter Olympics?
Alexander Zhukov: It’s simply that in this case we won’t need to build as many sports facilities. For example, it will be enough to build just one winter sports stadium and not four or five as we would have to for the full Olympic programme. But all the main infrastructure investment that will attract private investment to the city – road construction, electricity and so on – will be carried out in full.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on preparations for the meeting of the G8 foreign ministers.
Sergei Lavrov: The meeting will take place on June 29 and its aim is to complete the preliminary work on the political agenda before the [G8] summit. This includes new decisions on fighting terrorism, including terrorism linked to the threat of using weapons of mass destruction or the access of terrorists to the relevant materials. Active work is going ahead on your initiative to create international centres for providing nuclear fuel cycle services under IAEA control, and there are number of other new developments.
The counter-terrorism issue is closely linked to illicit drugs trafficking and this is why, just before the G8 foreign ministers meet, a major ministerial conference on combating drugs trafficking from Afghanistan more effectively will take place in Moscow and will see 50 countries taking part. A number of bilateral meetings are planned on the sidelines of this conference and I will have contacts with my colleagues from the United States, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Greece and a number of other countries.
Another important area of preparation work for the summit, and something that the foreign ministers will discuss on June 29, is the various regional conflicts, above all the issues of the Iranian nuclear programme, Middle East peace settlement, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and the nuclear problems on the Korean Peninsula that have everyone worried at the moment. Draft documents on all these issues have already been finalised, overall, but given that the situation changes rapidly we can’t rule out that some adjustments might be made just before the summit to the report that will be delivered to the leaders in St Petersburg.
President Vladimir Putin on measures to help Russians living abroad voluntarily resettle in the Russian Federation.
Vladimir Putin: I would like to come back to the Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly, specifically to the part where I spoke about the need to resolve our demographic problems. As you recall, the address noted three areas for work: raising the birth rate, reducing the death rate and finally, bringing order to our immigration policy, including by creating the conditions to help Russians living abroad and who would like to return to Russia to live permanently be able to do so.
I would like to inform you that I have signed the Decree on Measures to Help Russians Living Abroad Voluntarily Resettle in the Russian Federation. In accordance with this decree, a state programme to facilitate voluntary resettlement in Russia and a work plan for the programme’s implementation have been approved and an inter-ministerial commission to carry out the state programme has been formed. I ask the Government to be very attentive to this work. The Government was actively involved in drafting the programme and how effectively it is carried out will depend on how work goes ahead now, especially at Government level.
Let’s agree that the Presidential Executive Office, through the Control Department, will draw up a control mechanism to ensure control over the implementation of the decree’s main provisions, and, together with the Government, will systematically come back to the question of what concrete steps are being taken to implement this Presidential Decree.