President Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, distinguished Council members!
The main issue on our agenda is the preparation for the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games here in the south of Russia, in Sochi.
I note that a number of priority issues have already been resolved. We have created a federal law that defines the basic terms for organising and conducting the Games, and for developing the city of Sochi as a mountain resort. We have established a long-term programme for the construction of the various sites, including 243 sports, transport, engineering and other facilities. The state corporation Olympstroi is already up and running.
We are now ready for the practical implementation of our ambitious and large-scale Olympic projects, which will be designed to meet the highest international standards.
Let me remind you of another important aspect involved in preparations for the games. The Russian Federation has undertaken these preparations for the international Olympic movement, and for the institutions and individuals involved in the development of the modern world of sport. We have a great responsibility to satisfy a whole range of high expectations. There is also the quality of work, completing it on schedule, and of course the final result.
Our immediate challenge is planning and adopting a detailed schedule for designing, constructing and putting into operation the Olympic sites.
A number of additional projects will be linked with the need to improve the tourism, hotel and restaurant sectors in the city.
Experts think that about a million participants and guests will be coming to Sochi. We have to provide them all with comfort and security, high-speed links, transportation, financial and other services, and these must meet international standards. At the same time, we have to take into consideration living conditions of Sochi residents and of the staff needed for the Games. We should take the necessary measures in advance.
Particular attention must be paid to creating the proper accessibility for people with disabilities. We are obliged to fulfill all of the additional requirements for the success of the Paralympics.
Our cities are still poorly suited for the needs of people with disabilities. Municipalities and construction firms often fail to observe mandatory requirements concerning the design of special handrails, ramps, lifts, and elevators. There is a lack of specialised transport and much else that these people need in their daily lives.
I want to stress that in Sochi we must not only learn from international experience but also integrate the newest social standards.
Now a word about the quality of the preparatory work.
First, we must use the most advanced technologies and engineering solutions for the design and construction of the sports facilities. Our goal is to build a new generation of sports facilities that will be competitive for years and decades to come. The luge and bobsled track, the jumps and courses for skiers and the biathlon complex must be built to comply with international standards.
Secondly, during the Games we must use the most sophisticated visa and customs controls for the accreditation of participants and ensuring their access to the sites. All these measures must guarantee a high level of security without creating undue inconvenience.
Next, the provision of transport, infrastructure and energy supplies must be done according to the highest technological standards. I want to draw your attention here to the importance of using only environmentally friendly and energy-saving technology.
Finally, the third set of challenges related to the unique circumstances of preparing Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2014 involves our national sports development.
Creating new sports and recreational facilities in Sochi and environs is clearly in the long-term interests of Russia and its citizens. While building stadiums for sport at the highest levels, we must keep another goal firmly in mind: namely, the creation of better conditions for physical education classes and sport in general, for the recreational activities and the fitness of the entire nation.
Our preparations for the Olympic Games must include a programme for the preparation of our athletes. And this requires systemic changes in Russian sport, which is another subject for today's meeting.