25 december 2009

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting to review progress in building Olympic facilities and develop Sochi as a mountain health resort


Vladimir Putin's opening remarks:

Good afternoon,

Today we are holding this year's final meeting on the construction of Olympic facilities. I suggest that we review the results of what has been done and what is being planned for the near future.

I must stress that the Olympic facilities' construction has gained a lot of momentum in 2009. As of December 1 building work on all facilities is running to schedule. Building and assembly work has started on 45 sites.

The IOC experts who have visited Sochi seven times think that is good progress. They have given us good marks. We for our part should be more modest. I would give us just a "pass", there is still work to be done. We will talk about that today.

The close attention the IOC is paying to Sochi is understandable because ours is a unique project: for the first time in the modern history of the Olympics so many sites are being built for the entire Olympic Games "from a blank slate," on "green field" sites. In all the previous cases existing infrastructure was used. We are building from scratch.

The years 2010 and 2011 will see the most intensive work to implement this building programme. Tens of thousands of tons of various cargoes will come to Sochi: equipment, materials and machines. Thousands of experts will come to build the facilities and a colossal logistical and organizational effort will be mounted.

The Olympic Games Transport Directorate has been set up to manage this complicated operation. I am going to ask the Transport Minister, Igor Levitin, to brief us on how the Directorate proposes accomplishing this.

Let me stress again that the period ahead will see extra stress placed on dozens of services, the region's transport arteries as well as disturbing the habitual tempo of life for the local residents and those who come here on holiday. I urge all those involved in this process to think about these people, both those who live in Sochi permanently and those who come here for a rest. Let me repeat: our task is to minimize the inconveniences associated with this large-scale construction work, to bring them to zero.

At the same time everything must be done to achieve our goals, and that includes providing accommodation for the employees who are arriving here. People come here to work and they must be provided with comfortable and modern accommodation. Everything must be done to ensure law and order and security in and around the construction sites.

Considering the growing scale of construction, scrupulous adherence to the schedule is critical. Every part of it depends directly on the fulfillment of related tasks. A delay even on one count at one project may slow down the work as a whole and send the whole schedule tumbling like dominoes. We should on no account allow this to happen. The personal responsibility of all the participants in this process is extremely high.

Let me add that strict adherence to the time-scale is a must not only for the builders, but also for the designers. Besides, the growing scale of construction must be efficiently and fully provided with credit and financial resources. Vneshekonombank is to play a major role in this. It has already signed credit agreements for more than 32 billion roubles. Altogether the Bank has assigned 80 billion for the Olympic project.

As a state development institution VEB must continue to ensure the attractiveness of the Olympic project for private investors, by providing them with long-term loans, and through cost-sharing schemes.

Obviously, the implementation of such ambitious projects as Sochi 2014 is an occasion for taking stock of our laws and regulations, above all in the field of architecture and construction.

The preparations for the Sochi Games have once again highlighted problems that have accumulated and systemic dislocation. Many of the current technical regulations fall short of modern requirements and need to be drastically revised.

There are problems in territorial lay-out. Clear-cut rules governing the effective use of land have yet to be developed.

The issue of pricing in the construction industry is a particular topic we have discussed on more than one occasion. We should bring the cost of building infrastructure in line with world standards as quickly as possible. Here, everything is more expensive because we use regulations dating back to the 1960s and 70s. Technology has made great strides, but we still do our calculations in the old way.

Dmitry Kozak has promised to prepare the necessary measures. I look forward to his proposals.

Let us now get down to business.