President Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, dear colleagues!
We are meeting today to update the composition and structure of the Council. Now it is called the Council for the Development of Physical Culture and Sport, Excellence in Sports, and the Preparation and
Organisation of the 2014 XXII Winter Olympics and XI Paralympics in Sochi. This is the first meeting since the announcement that Sochi was to be the host city for the Olympics. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who participated in successfully promoting our Olympic application.
Without a doubt, the success of these Olympics is already being determined, and the Council must resolve the main issues involved in preparing for the Games. As you know, last week I signed a decree concerning the reorganisation of its operations and personnel and its new designation. The Council’s General Committee to be chaired by the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, is responsible for resolving the key institutional and legal issues, including the coordination of the activities of all those participating in preparing for the Olympics — first and foremost the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee and the state corporation charged with the construction of the Olympic facilities. The Organising Committee has been set up in accordance with the rules laid down by the Olympic Charter; the state corporation is being formed in accordance with the federal law of the State Duma and should become the single centre for building all the Olympic infrastructure. I repeat: these three structures, the Council’s General Committee, the Organising Committee, and the State Corporation will do the lion’s share of the organisational and actual day-to-day work.
Today I would like to discuss policy issues involved in preparing for the Olympics.
As you know, long before the decision of the International Olympic Committee, we faced the challenge of the strategic development of the whole of southern Russia and the entire region of Sochi. We have to build a sports centre there that meets the most demanding international standards. In effect, a new world-class regional site will be built on Russian territory. At the same time, we have to create a comfortable mountain resort for the citizens of our country and for tourists from around the world.
I would like to immediately dispel the illusion that we have a lot of time. If you consider the immense tasks that lie before us, time is short. Let me remind you that by 2013, or preferably by 2012, all the facilities must not only be ready but also tested by athletes in major international competitions.
In connection with this I would ask all those present to adopt a responsible approach when planning and implementing this project, an unprecedented one for our country. Together we managed to win the honoured title of Olympic capital for Sochi. And now we must work together to bring all the commitments we made in Guatemala to fruition.
Our priority tasks include creating the necessary normative and legal foundation. By the end of this year we need to adopt the necessary Olympics-related laws. Along with this I would ask the government cabinet of the Russian Federation and the Presidential Executive Office to include representatives from Sochi and the Krasnodar Region in the working groups drafting these laws. This will allow these groups to better take into account the interests of the citizens living in the region. I see the Mayor [of Sochi] here and I hope that your experts or you yourself have already begun working on this process.
As I just said, by the end of this year we need to adopt Olympics-related laws and to resolve all issues related to the customs and visa regimes that apply to the participants and guests of the Olympics, as well as issues linked to protecting intellectual property rights. To this end we need to learn from and take full advantage of the experience of other Olympic capitals.
Along with preparing the installations in Sochi we need to place due emphasis on preparing athletes for the next Olympic games, namely those in Beijing, Vancouver and London. We need to use them as a full-value training forum and that is yet another argument in favour of commencing building the installations early. I would once again recall that all the activities I just mentioned must be carried out in close cooperation with the International Olympic Committee and in full accordance with international standards.
Measures to prepare for the Olympics must be used, as much as possible, to develop physical culture and sports in Russia. Much has changed over the past few years: a six-year federal target programme is now being implemented, the regions have become considerably more active in this regard, and there are more private investors and benefactors.
However, the task of developing sports throughout the country is a long-term and multifaceted one. And society as a whole must participate in accomplishing our goal. We must not forget that the spiritual and physical health of the Russian nation is what is at stake here, and first and foremost that of young people, of Russian youth.
I am confident that the successful development of sport for children and youth in Russia will directly influence our achievements in prominent sports and our excellence in sports – and this certainly includes the Olympic Games, and the Sochi Olympics. The people who will compete for Russia in 2014 are still in school today. In connection with this, and in anticipation of 2014, already today we should adopt a systematic and deliberate approach towards the preparation of future Olympians.
Incidentally, with regards to professional sport and club teams that act as centres for training athletes for national teams (and this is already the case): they recently took the easiest possible route. Vitalii Leontevich [Mutko] and I discussed this: rather than train youths and nurture their own homegrown personnel, tens of millions dollars are being spent on mercenaries. It would be so easy, quite possibly cheaper, and quicker to achieve the same end result in sports clubs. I would like to draw the attention of all the presidents of sporting federations present to this. The result is well-known. There is no one to play in the national teams.
At the same time, we need to enhance the status of physical education teachers and those involved in educating youth and adolescents. For example, among the ten thousand best teachers of 2006 (those who received a cash award), physical education teachers numbered less than three percent.
Moreover, already today we need to work comprehensively towards developing sports medicine and science. Other countries are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in this, hundreds of millions! By comparison, what we are doing is negligible.
And finally, we simply must devote serious efforts towards modernising the whole system of physical education and sports in general educational institutions. I recall that we have given orders on this subject, talked a lot about this, but the problem is being resolved far too slowly. Schools still lack available sporting programmes for children, and often even athletic fields with the basic necessities and equipment. And the methods of instruction are so outdated that this simply hinders the development of physical education and sports in schools.
Overall, the system of physical education and sports in schools and universities must undergo fundamental changes. I would like to once again draw the attention of representatives from the Education Ministry and Rossport to this issue.
That is all that I wanted to say as an introduction. I would like to now give the floor to Aleksandr Zhukov.