9 february 2011

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin holds a video conference in St Petersburg on preparations for the 27th Summer World University Games

Vladimir Putin

At a video conference in St Petersburg on preparations for the 27th Summer World University Games

“The Summer World University Games are a major international competition. We won the right to hold the World Student Games in 2008, and the practical work began in 2009. Over this time, the Republic of Tatarstan allocated some of its own funds for the preparations, but the bulk of the funding has come from the federal budget, 25 billion roubles in total.”

Introductory remarks by Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, colleagues. We all recently witnessed the superb victory of our young athletes at the World University Games in Turkey, where our team confidently took overall first place. This is a really impressive result and puts us on good footing in terms of preparing for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

But today we have come together to look at the progress made in preparation for the 2013 World University Games in Kazan. I want to remind you that it will be a large competition, comparable in scale and in the number of participants to the Olympic Games: there must be more than …

Vitaly Mutko: 11,000.

Vladimir Putin: 11,000.

Vitaly Mutko: And 26 sports.

Vladimir Putin: At the Olympics, we will have 5,000, and in Kazan there must be twice as many – 11,500. As we all know, there will be fewer guests and journalists. Of course, the Olympic Games are the Olympic Games, they are a more prestigious competition. However, in terms of scale, I repeat, the Summer World University Games are still a major international competition.

We won the right to hold the World University Games in 2008, and the practical work began in 2009. Over this time, the Republic of Tatarstan allocated some of its own funds for the preparations, but the bulk of the funding has come from the federal budget, 25 billion roubles in total. Another 11.5 billion roubles will be provided this year. Overall, 64 projects are being constructed for these purposes, and 36 of them must be built from scratch.

We regularly look at how the work is being carried out; we keep these projects under control. Today we will look at it one more time. And we must continue to keep an eye on everything that is happening there because by July 2012 we will hold test events in all the sports to be contested at the games.

Of course, we will not allow any delay here. As far as I know, out of all the facilities planned for the World University Games, 24 have been completed.

Rustam Minnikhanov (President of the Republic of Tatarstan): There are 26, according to our list, and 25, according to the federal list.

Vladimir Putin: Do you see how fast it’s changing? We already have 26 facilities built.

Let’s take a closer look at it today. In June, the Rowing Centre will open. A lot of progress has been made on the University Games village, which we all inspected last May… It is a very sound project in that, after the University Games are over, these facilities will be used as a university and a campus for students. Let’s also look at what’s going on at this construction site.

And one more important issue on our agenda is the football arena. We inspected this venue and made a decision to expand it so that it can host the FIFA World Cup.

Incidentally, the progress we made in preparation for the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2013 World University Games – the quality and speed of this work – was one of the major reasons why FIFA gave us the right to host the 2018 World Cup. And we must do our best not to lose our reputation as a reliable partner in international sports. Let’s see how this work is going. Go ahead.

Vitaly Mutko: Mr Prime Minister, the University Games are truly a major sporting event and organisational challenge for us, as you have said. The competition has grown tougher, and we view the University Games as a good opportunity to both promote student sports and evaluate our athletic potential. Incidentally, our ice hockey team has just returned, and five of its members will participate in today’s ceremony.

So, in summary, in 2013 Russia will host the University Games. We have set up a steering committee according to your directive. It’s headed by Mr Igor Shuvalov. The Ministry of Sport is coordinating the work at the federal and local levels, and we are cooperating with our colleagues in Tatarstan. We have also set up the directorate of the University Games. We review the progress made in preparation for the University Games each month. We have drawn up schedules for 64 facilities, and there are five more facilities to be built. We will build four of them by the end of this year, and there will only be one stadium left, which we will construct later.

This year, the republic will receive 10.5 billion roubles from the government to construct new sports venues, almost all of which will remain in use once the University Games are over. It’s good that we have selected the right places for them – they are located around universities and colleges and will serve as training centres for young people, improving the accessibility of sports venues in general.

In July, we formally adopted the programme for the University Games along with the International Union of Students. It includes 26 sports. Thirteen of them are compulsory, and we proposed the other half in collaboration with the government of Tatarstan. These include, for example, a local sport called kurash, a belt wrestling.

Vladimir Putin: We’ll have to put your athletes to the test with belts…

Vitaly Mutko: Some 170 countries will be participating. We expect about 13,500 athletes and other members of national teams and 1,500 journalists to come to the University Games.

In August, we will receive the flag of the University Games following the summer competitions in China. The steering committee has reviewed all our plans, including the legacy plan, the environmental plan, security, healthcare, transport, and logistics… We are addressing all of these issues in coordination with the government of Tatarstan.

I’d like to highlight the legacy plan, which we discussed when you last toured the University Games village. We appreciate that you supported this plan at the time. Its main goal is to relocate the Volga Academy of Physical Fitness and Sport from Naberezhnye Chelny to Kazan. The academy will have a good campus and large sports facilities at its new location.

Vladimir Putin: It’ll be in the village, right?

Rustam Minnikhanov: Near the village, where the community and information centres are; it’ll be located there.

Vitaly Mutko: And we plan to transfer six more venues to it. The result will be a major academic and training centre for Russia’s national teams.

Overall, the preparations are going on schedule. We constantly check how the funds are being used. This year, the Accounts Chamber made a thorough and comprehensive audit of the contractors and assessed whether the quality of their work was adequate to the expenses. It recommended that federal and local authorities further strengthen their involvement in the process.

We are doing everything in our power to ensure that Russian athletes can prepare for the University Games. We have developed training programmes in coordination with the Union of Students and sports federations. And we have launched these programmes. The University Games will not only be a major celebration of sport: We want to perform well and maintain our reputation in youth athletics.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you. Mr Minnikhanov, what can you add?

Rustam Minnikhanov: Mr Prime Minister, the preparations for the 2013 University Games are well underway and on schedule. We have made a video featuring the 25 new facilities that have already been completed and are being used. There are 884 days left before the start of the University Games. A total of 25 out of the 30 venues on the federal list have been built so far. The rest are under construction. In 2009, we put nine more venues into operation, followed by 16 in 2010.

On August 23, 2011, the flag of the World University Games will be delivered from Shenzhen, China, to Kazan. We would like to thank Igor Shuvalov, chairman of the Organising Committee, Minister of Sport Vitaly Mutko and all federal ministries and departments that have been helping us, and especially you, Mr Putin, for trusting us. Our first attempt failed, but we won the second one. Thank you very much for your support.

These facilities have been selected and placed so as … We are building to tried and tested plans, which cuts the construction cost dramatically. We have only five major unfinished projects. One of them is the village where the Physical Fitness Academy will be located; we will complete it by September 1. I am inviting you to attend the opening ceremony. The football stadium we are building will not be finished this year. We have driven 17,000 piles; we will see this project in a video today. The next large project is the Water Sports Centre, which is to be completed this year. The rowing canal – we will hold competitions there this summer. And a huge Gymnastics Centre. It is clear [that we will complete these projects] especially since we have received the money allocated for this year, as you have said, and are working hard. We are grateful for your assistance.

One criterion used in choosing these locations was the possibility to use them before and after the Student Games. Eighteen of the 30 facilities will be turned over to universities within the Legacy programme. They will be used primarily by students at universities and sport schools. Over 10,000 students from youth sport schools are using these facilities, which are also open to local residents. There is a visiting schedule for each facility, and web cameras monitor compliance around the clock. You can visit any facility on the internet to see how it is being used. Our top class professionals also train at these facilities. We are to hold 50 trial Russian and international competitions here before 2013. These are important because we will gain the experience we need to host the World Student Games.

We are building the first phase of Terminal 1A at our airport, which should be completed by the end of 2011. It is a public-private project. The second phase, which will service between 1.2 million and 2 million passengers, will also be completed by 2012.

We are modernising the transport network to ensure sport facility accessibility. We are building or upgrading the streets and roads in Kazan, building eight of the planned 14 interchanges (construction of the other interchanges will begin this summer) and 15 of the 39 pedestrian underpasses. We have commissioned a seventh metro station and are still working on three more. Preparing for the Student Games is a comprehensive process. We have approved a transport plan, which was preceded by serious planning, and the IT concept, and have coordinated and submitted for approval security plans. At this point, we have coordinated the issues pertaining to services – medical and cultural, and, most importantly, are training volunteer assistants. We have 2,000 certified volunteers who speak foreign languages, and who will be subsequently used at the Sochi Olympics.

We are working hard to popularise the Universiade’s brands. We have signed agreements with MegaFon and PricewaterhouseCoopers, and have held talks on sponsorship with Coca-Cola, Intel and Citibank.

In short, we are working hard, as you can see, Mr Putin. I would like our colleagues from Kazan to come on air now. The first to speak will be the Volleyball Centre in St Petersburg.

Vladimir Putin: No, just a minute. Before we begin the video conference, I have a question to you. Questions about price hikes were raised during the discussions of the construction projects in Kazan. You clashed with the departments concerning price growth and the reasons for it. We took that into account when making funding related decisions. What is the situation now?

Rustam Minnikhanov: This is a very timely question, Mr Putin. What have we done to prevent the cost of the projects from growing? Nineteen of the planned facilities are being built to older plans, and hence need only to be adjusted to terrain, without additional spending. Also, [the licences to build] all our facilities, including those that have been commissioned, were awarded through e-trade. This allowed us to cut prices by 10% to 15%, and also because of large construction volume. This is why we use this system, and will use it in interchange construction too.

Vladimir Putin: In short, you have no unsettled issues with any federal departments, do you?

Rustam Minnikhanov: No, we don’t.

Vladimir Putin: And that’s it? The problem has been resolved?

Rustam Minnikhanov: Moreover, we are willing to share our experience and are doing so. The Audit Chamber inspected our projects and recommended that other regions use our methods.

Vladimir Putin: Good. Thank you.

* * *

During a video conference with athletes in Kazan, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was taken on a virtual tour of the major facilities for the World Student Games. First, he was taken to the volleyball court, where famous Russian player Yekaterina Gamova showed him around and thanked him for his support.

Putin was then shown the Vatan ice rink, where he was greeted by the national student hockey team which recently returned with a victory at the World Student Games in Turkey. Having thanked Putin for the new training facility in Kazan, they promised to do all they could to become members of the Olympic team and win the gold for Russia in Sochi.

“I’m counting on it, as are your fans, and I hope that you do win,” Putin said. “I want to congratulate you on your victory in Turkey, and I even promise to learn how to skate so that I can come to one of your training sessions.”

Later in the virtual tour, the prime minister also had the chance to see water sport and martial arts facilities.    

As he signed off, Putin concluded: “We all understand that these are major competitions. Everything should be done to prepare the facilities and teams for a successful performance. I’d like to thank all of our colleagues and athletes in Kazan. Thank you very much.”