President Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, dear friends,
I know that various reasons have brought you to Moscow, including the World Hockey Championship and the Judo Super Cup.
I am very happy to see that Moscow is hosting such important sports events, and this has given us a good opportunity to meet with you to talk about Russia’s participation in developing sport in general and the Olympic movement in particular, given that you are members of the International Olympic Committee.
Next year, as far as I know, the International Hockey Federation is going to celebrate its one-hundredth anniversary. How are the preparations going, and what can Russia do to help ensure that the celebrations are a success?
Rene Fasel: The World Hockey Championship will take place in Halifax, in Quebec, Canada. This is the birthplace of hockey as a sport and we will organise the celebrations of the federation’s 100th anniversary to coincide with the championship’s final in Quebec.
We will also be holding an event in Paris in June. The federation was founded on May 15, 1908 in Provence – I want to name the exact place because it really is beautiful. Various celebrations will also take place throughout the year.
Vladimir Putin: I think it would be fitting if Russia also took part in these events. We would be happy to hear any proposals you may have and do whatever is necessary to help.
Rene Fasel: Regarding the celebration of events, we know that the Victory Day holiday is approaching. Unfortunately, not everyone realises that Russia lost more people in the Second World War than all the rest of the world, but we can see just how significant these losses and these events are for Russia from the way that Victory Day is commemorated here, from the high level of celebrations. I think that this is a very important event.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you for remembering this, this is indeed the case.
We pay tribute to all the victims of Nazism, above all in the countries that resisted it. This applies to the people who fought Nazism within Germany itself, to our allies in the Second World War.
Recently I was in Murmansk in the north of Russia. People there have great respect for the memory of the British sailors who accompanied the northern convoys. As these days of celebration approach, I would rather not speak about the regrettable things you have mentioned, but concentrate on remembering that the past should unite us in the name of the future. Sport is precisely something that unites us. I hope that the Judo Super Cup in Moscow has been a success. I would like to hear your opinion.
Lassana Palenfo: Yes, this was indeed a successful tournament. We are also getting ready to celebrate our federation’s upcoming anniversary, and we are preparing for the judo events at the Olympic Games. The Judo Association is working as actively as possible now in Asia, Africa and Europe, and of course, Russia can also help with the preparations for these events.