President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: We are meeting today to talk about the preparations for the 22nd Winter Olympics, which will take place in Sochi in 2014, but perhaps there is a more important issue – the development of the city of Sochi as one of the key cities of Southern Russia, a centre of the Krasnodar Region. I am thinking especially of the development of the city’s social services — the construction of accommodation, the infrastructure of the city, which, to put it mildly could be better, and which require development irrespective of our plans for the Olympics. There are a lot of other issues which need to be addressed in order for Sochi to be a pleasant place to live both for its residents and those who come to relax here on holiday – who love and value this region.
The task before us is, of course, to hold the Olympics at the very highest level. To this end we must build a high quality sporting infrastructure, and that requires the modernisation of the transport system, hotel complexes, and of course, the creation of the best conditions for the Olympic games. In the time that has passed since Sochi was chosen as the capital of the Olympics 2014 plans have been drawn up for the creation of this vital infrastructure, construction has been scheduled, and as a whole the investment projects are beginning to be implemented.
Nonetheless, there is still a very great deal that remains to be done. This year we must finish designing the Olympic venues, begin construction of all the Olympic palaces and parks, and of course, finish putting in place systems to monitor and oversee the construction of the Olympic venues.
One of the key tasks before us now is the preparation of the plots for sporting facilities, equipped sites. This work must be carried out according to the timetable that was agreed with the International Olympic Committee, and we are working on it. This may not be easy but we are in constant contact with them, and particular attention must be paid to this as well.
And it goes without saying, all this work has to be carried out bearing in mind the interests of those who own the land, and buildings, and in full accordance with current Russian laws, including those passed recently. I signed one of these laws on the 29th December last year. That law regulates the organisation and holding of the Olympic games and significant changes were introduced to it. I understand that you already have a good grasp of them, but nonetheless, I will run through them once more.
Firstly, there is the establishment of a system for the construction of residential accommodation for those who have had to move due to the building of Olympic venues. The company Olympstroi has been given the special right to build accommodation for such people, or buy it – which would of course speed up the process. The second point relates to Olympstroi’s duties to refund any money spent by the Krasnodar and Sochi City administrations on the relocation of residents. The third relates to the establishment of the right to use land for the construction of key Olympic venues, and a special decision was made which allows the possible reduction of the number of plots of land seized.
And finally the Krasnodar region and Sochi city administrations have been given the right to put property seized on a special land register and also have the right to receive all necessary legal documents for this, which should also speed up this process.
I would like to touch on one more theme. For this all to be done to the highest possible standard, we must ensure full accountability. This already exists in all areas, there is the municipal control, governmental control, presidential control, which is looked after by the Presidential Control Directorate, and finally there is also the control exercised by the law enforcement agencies such as the prosecutor’s office and other structures.
Why? Precisely because we have set aside such huge resources for this. Very large financial resources. And it is vital that every rouble is spent rationally. We will oversee practically all issues. Dmitry Nikolaevich (Kozak, deputy Prime Minister, in charge of the preparations for the 2014 Olympics) who was doing this before now has the full authority of government behind him.
But as a whole of course we must think about what happens after the Olympics. Our main aim is the development of Krasnodar region, and we understand that all the venues built for the Olympics must function not just as training grounds for professional sportsmen, but also as centres for the development of popular sport. This is particularly important. And the future state of sport and PE in the region, and in the country, depends a great deal on how well this is done. Especially because this region is one of the most popular holiday destinations for people in the country.
There is a lot of work before us, but I know we can see it through. Still, it must be properly organised. To that end the government has appointed a special deputy Prime Minister, Dmitry Nikolaevich Kozak, who is already actively engaged in this work. We will give him the floor first, please – Dmitry Nikolaevich…
Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Kozak: Thank you Dmitry Anatolevich. Everything you have said is absolutely fair.
If we are to speak of the preparations of the sporting venues, then at the present time, work on a large number of these are already underway. Out of 186 venues 139 are already planned, and 19 are already under construction. Some of the infrastructure, linked to the construction as a whole, has already been completed,
When we talk about the Olympics, then most of our attention focuses on the Olympic venues, the construction of the infrastructure for the Olympics and so on, but it is vital that all authorities, federal, regional and municipal, focus their activities on the developing the city’s development programme. This of course must be in line with the interests of the residents, but must also fulfil the requirements of the International Olympic Committee. Every city, which hosts the Olympics, has to develop a programme which takes into account the development of the city’s infrastructure, social services, the enhancement of the city administration systems and legislature, and an improvement in the city’s business environment.
Dmitry Medvedev: If I understand you correctly, then the IOC control is so broad in terms of its competencies, that it goes beyond the framework of the holding of the Olympics themselves. That is to say, it also takes into account the development of a city over a number of years.
Dmitry Kozak: Yes. For three years following the completion of the Olympic games, the International Olympic Committee is involved in monitoring the development in the city, and assessing how these programmes are implemented. This is not just important for their assessment…
Dmitry Medvedev: Above all, it is important for us.
Dmitry Kozak: For us above all. Because the city of Sochi really is an asset to the whole country. You were absolutely correct to note that people come here from all across the country. It is Russia’s gem, a famous resort city, and that is why it is very important to create pleasant conditions here, for the residents, and for those who visit.
This programme is being put together. We plan to consider it in its final version on the 13th of February, at the meeting of the Sports council (the Presidential Council for the Development of Physical Culture and Sport, Excellence in Sport, and the Organisation of the XXII Winter Olympics and the XI Winter Paralympics in Sochi in 2014), so that it can be ratified as early as February and we can move to its implementation.
As a whole, if we consider the preparation schedule, then there is no cause for concern. However there are a host of difficulties – above all in co-ordination, co-ordinating the actions of the various federal, regional and municipal authorities that are involved the realisation of this project.
I think that those measures taken by you and by the government of the Russian federation will be able to ensure this co-ordination.
Dmitry Medvedev: You are correct to say that while everything as a whole is moving in the right direction, this is not a reason to relax. We understand how much bureaucracy there is still today – including in these processes.
I have spoken to the people here who deal with the separate elements of the development of Olympic venues, and there are still a lot of shortcomings. We must be sure to talk about that.