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  • Putin Urges Speed in Sochi Construction


    Dmitry Chernyshenko was officially made CEO of Sochi 2014 last week. (Getty Images)  
    (ATR) Russian president Vladimir Putin today inaugurated the Sochi 2014 Olympic Organizing Committee, the body charged with delivering the Games in the Black Sea resort.

    Dmitry Chernyshenko was confirmed as CEO of SOOC and deputy prime minister Alexander Zhukov as chair of the SOOC Supervisory Board at a meeting of the Presidential Council for Physical Education, Sports and Preparations for the Olympics.

    Members of the board named Tuesday include Semyon Vainshtok, new head of the corporation responsible for Olympic constructions, Sochi mayor Viktor Kolodyazhny, Russian Olympic Committee president Leonid Tyagachev and Russia’s sports minister Vyacheslav Fetisov.

    Other appointments to the board include Russian IOC member Vitaly Smirnov, Vladimir Lukin, president of the Russian Paralympic Committee, and Tatiana Dobrokhvalova, the COO of the Sochi bid.

    “The Sochi 2014 Olympic Organizing Committee has the immense responsibility of delivering the most technically advanced and excellent Games on behalf of the Russian Government, the City of Sochi and the Russian Olympic Committee,” said Chernyshenko.

    “We will meet and exceed the highest standards demanded by the Olympic Movement.”

    Chernyshenko said the federal budget would provide less than one third of the total cost of the Games, with SOOC securing the rest of the revenue through sponsorship agreements, broadcasting rights, tickets and licensing.

    At the presidential council meeting, Putin warned Olympic organizers that there is no time to waste in building infrastructure for the Games.

    “I’d like to warn you against the illusion that we have a lot of time,” Putin told reporters at the Moscow meeting.

    “Considering the large-scale tasks which are to be resolved, we are short of time,” he said.

    Putin said that by 2012 or 2013 all facilities must not just be ready but also tested by athletes in international competitions.

    Sochi 2014 is spending $12 billion to develop the Games venues and infrastructure, but virtually all constructions must be built from scratch.

    Olympic organizers were given a major boost Tuesday when the State Duma, the Russian parliament’s lower house, approved the first reading of a bill to establish the state company that will build facilities for the Games.

    The state corporation will reportedly submit to the Russian president quarterly and annual reports on spending and the results of checks by authorities.
    Jacques Rogge spoke with Vladimir Putin at the IOC president's first official visit to Sochi on Sept. 27. (Getty Images)  

    Putin recently appointed former Transneft president Vainshtok to head the Olympic corporation. It will be financed by the federal, regional and city governments.

    According to Russian news sources, Putin told IOC President Jacques Rogge during their meeting in Sochi last week that two pieces of legislation would be approved during the autumn session of the parliament: an Olympic law and the law on the state corporation.

    These will put funding structures in place paving the way for the necessary Olympic work to be undertaken. Sochi 2014 plans to spend $806 million on construction of sports venues at the Olympic Park in the Imeretinskaya Valley.

    Another fillip for organizers Tuesday was news that Oleg Deripaska, one of Russia’s richest businessmen and owner of a metals-to-agriculture empire, is to invest around $5 billion in infrastructure for the Sochi Olympics through his Basic Element company.

    With reporting by Mark Bisson

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