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  • New Sochi Chief Inspects Olympic Progress


    Dmitry Kozak will make many visits to Sochi as deputy prime minister for the Olympics.
     Kozak joined Dmitry Chernyshenko, president and CEO of Sochi 2014, on a tour of Olympic venue and infrastructure locations Friday. They also held
    meetings with stakeholders involved in the Olympic project.

    Also on the tour were: Victor Basargin, minister for regional development; Leonid Tyagachev, president of the Russian Olympic Committee; Alexander
    Tkachev, governor of the Krasnodar Region; Vladimir Afansenkov, the Mayor of Sochi; and Viktor Kolodyazhny, head of Olympstroy, the state corporation overseeing construction of all Olympic venues and infrastructure.

    "They will become a regular event," a spokeswoman for the Sochi 2014 press service told ATR about the inspection visit.

    The visit comes just a week after Kozak, 49, was appointed to the post by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev; he was promoted from regional development minister amid fears the huge construction job for the Olympics could be hit by the global financial crisis.

    The IOC's senior inspectors for the Sochi 2014 Games, who were in the city only last week, will welcome the fact that Kozak is moving quickly to ensure
    the project does not fall behind schedule.

    Stormy economic waters lie ahead but building projects must maintain their momentum due to the tight construction timetable. Kozak
    Workers earlier this year at one of the venues being constructed for alpine skiing. (Getty)
    is also tasked with
    keeping private investors aboard to prevent any delays.

    Russia is spending some $12 billion on transforming the Black Sea resort for the Games, but most of the venues and infrastructure are being built from

    Last week, the IOC's Co-ordination Commission chair Jean-Claude Killy and Olympic Games Executive Director Gilbert Felli finalized the venue plan
    during a two-day project review.
    IOC Olympic Games Executive Director Gilbert Felli and Sochi Coordination Commission chair Jean Claude Killy met in Moscow last week to review Olympic planning. (Getty)

    Kozak, a close ally of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, also serves as a member of the supervisory board of the Sochi Olympics.

    Meanwhile, Sochi 2014 confirmed that Kozak and Chernyshenko were not on the plane from Sochi to Moscow on which a passenger triggered a hijack scare late Friday. They traveled a different route back to the Russian capital in the evening.

    According to Russian news agencies, the passenger shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest) and demanded the plane - operated by the Russian budget airline SkyExpress - divert to Vienna. Interfax quoted a law enforcement source as saying the incident may have been caused by a drunk passenger but the situation was brought under control before the flight landed.

    With reporting from Mark Bisson.

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