Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meets with Minister of Sport, Tourism and Youth Policy Vitaly Mutko


During the meeting, Vladimir Putin asked Vitaly Mutko to consider the possibility of hosting the World Figure Skating Championships. According to the prime minister, with this Russia could support Japan and the International Skating Union.

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Vladimir Putin: Hello, Mr Mutko,

I would like to talk to you about the progress of the federal targeted programme to develop physical fitness and sports, especially with respect to the construction of more sports centres and overhauling the existing facilities.

Second, it just became clear that our friends in Japan will not be able to host the World Figure Skating Championships. The recent tragedy that struck Japan has certainly cancelled these plans. We could support Japan and the International Skating Union by proposing to hold the event here in Russia instead, provided that the union is interested in that.

This is not an expensive event, and Russia could shoulder all the costs. The point is that there are millions of Russians who love figure skating. We could please our people with these spectacular shows. Please, work on this with your colleagues. Let me repeat, if they are interested, we are ready to do it.

Vitaly Mutko: Mr Putin, about the federal programme – you instructed us to review it when we reported on the results of the Vancouver Olympics. The idea was to shift the emphasis to those facilities, both old and new, that are for elite sports, for all 53 Olympic sports.

This year, we spent around 6 billion roubles on this work, and we have already shown several projects to you. We plan to complete about five sports centres and bases – one of them, of course, in Novogorsk. It is by using the Novogorsk multifunctional centre that we plan to handle most of the task – about 35 different kinds of sports.

We have already commissioned the ice arena, which you have visited. It will host practices and competitions in curling, figure skating, and hockey. The rink will easily transform to a smaller size if needed.

Secondly, we're going to build a new facility in Novogorsk this year, for two other sports, fencing and rhythmic gymnastics. Also, we're beginning the construction of track and field facilities there, a gymnasium and a stadium. So, hopefully, we'll be able to launch a track and field stadium sometime next year before the London Olympics, probably in May.

Thirdly, with regard to winter sports, we've told you already that there are almost no ski jumps, no freestyle snowboarding centres in the country. In the town of Tchaikovsky, in the Perm Region, we're completing the construction of a range of ski jump ramps this year. There, we'll have the whole gamut of ski jumps: 40, 70, 95, and 125 metres. As well as a skiing and biathlon centre, a ski roller track, and sufficient rehabilitation facilities for athletes. All these sports will get the base for them built as early as this year.

Construction is also in full swing in Toksovo, in the Leningrad Region. There, we're building a centre for freestyle and other styles of snowboarding. We'll build Russia's first 1.5km-long ski tunnel for biathlon competitions, usable in virtually any type of weather conditions, and a 200-bed hotel with rehabilitation facilities. All these facilities will be constructed as part of the Peter Lesgaft Sports University and will be run by this institution.

Also, here in the Moscow Region, we'll have a training base, called Oka, for weightlifting, an area where Russia is a big medal winner. This modern weightlifting facility is now being designed, and the construction is expected to begin next year.

Speaking of the Black Sea coast, we've already shown you the foundation for the Yug Sport centre. As early as this year, the tasks you charged us with... This year, we'd also like to complete the construction of this multifunctional centre for martial arts, including judo, freestyle wrestling, Greco-Roman wrestling, and women's wrestling. All this will be in Sochi, in the Yug Sport base.

In this regard, I'd like to thank you, Mr Putin, for having authorised the transfer of the Kislovodsk base under the Sports Ministry's jurisdiction.

Vladimir Putin: Have you received my letter on this matter?

Vitaly Mutko: Yes, we have. And the base has been under the ministry's jurisdiction since March 1. We've earmarked 40 million roubles for fitting it out with additional equipment; our race walkers and part of our national track and field team are already training there for the London Olympics. We're planning to do some renovations there and build an appropriate swimming pool for our swimers. This is what concerns the southern sector.

In keeping with your instructions, we've joined the Federation of Trade Unions and its chair, Mr Shmakov, in negotiations on the handover of the Podolsk base, once used to train national teams.

Also, Paralympians are of very special importance to us, and we've been stepping up our investment in Paralympic sports.

We are to complete the renovation of a training base at Aleksin this year, and will hopefully get it up and running sometime in August. We'll have training facilities there for almost every Paralympic sport, winter or summer.

We're now in the process of building a 200-bed hotel with rehabilitation facilities, as well as a swimming pool, and a training ground. It's in the Tula Region – very convenient.

The last project we're currently working on is the Russian State University of Physical Education in Moscow. We're now busy laying the groundwork for this site, and have disbursed 500 million roubles for the construction of the first series of sports facilities there. The ambition is to create a powerful research, training, and educational centre.

Summing up, we hope to cover most elite sports by the year 2012.

Admittedly, we still have some unresolved problems with rowing, but, as you know, we're now building a modern rowing centre in Tatarstan as part of the preparations for the World Student Games in Kazan, where rowing will be a basic sport. And we hope to complete the renovation of a rowing base in Krasnodar as early as this year.

Our work on federal centres will be largely completed in 2012.

Vladimir Putin: Great! And how do things stand in figure skating?

Vitaly Mutko: You know that last night the Japan Skating Federation officially withdrew from hosting [this year's] World Figure Skating Championships, and the International Skating Union appealed for member states' proposals on how to deal with this situation.

Vladimir Putin: You go ahead and work with them. We're not insisting on anything, but if the ISU needs someone to rely on in this emergency, we'll be happy to offer our support.

Vitaly Mutko: We'll talk to International Skating Union President Ottavio Cinquanta later today, Mr Putin.

Vladimir Putin: Is he in Sochi at the moment?

Vitaly Mutko: No, he's been unable to come because of this tragedy, but we're staying in touch with him and will tell him all about Russia's potential.

Vladimir Putin: Okay.

Vitaly Mutko: All the more so since we have some experience already, having hosted the 2005 championships.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, we've got all it takes...

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