Prime Minister Vladimir Putin holds a video conference at the Olympic Information Centre, Sochi 2014, to speak with the Russian Olympic team at the Russian House in Vancouver


Prime Minister Putin expressed his confidence in the Russian team's capacity to triumph at the Vancouver Olympics. "We all are looking forward to the competitions and hope for your success. We know that you have been under a lot of pressure, but we are confident that you will deal with this and surmount all obstacles to achieve great results," said Mr Putin.

The participants of the video conference were shown recent photos of Olympic construction sites in Sochi, and Mr Putin gave detailed comments on some of them. He noted that builders work non-stop and in three shifts at the main construction sites. "The progress is very obvious," said the prime minister. 

The hostess asked Vladimir Putin if all project schedules were being met, to which he replied, "Yes, and it's not only my opinion, the IOC inspectors also believe so. I was pleased with their recent reviews. At the airport on the way out, they said, ‘Now we see the might of the Russian state.'"

However, the prime minister remarked that "we must be prepared for any surprise weather scenario." He assured those at the video conference that everything possible is being done to eliminate any failures at the Olympics.

The prime minister reminded listeners that the Sochi Olympic Games is a one-of-a-kind project; everything must be built from scratch. He said, "It's not inexpensive of course, but it gives us a unique opportunity to use cutting-edge international technology. And we've been doing so, and will continue to do so, I'm sure."

Mr Putin said that "a total of 207 facilities are scheduled for construction, including 14 sports venues, 260 kilometres of motorway, 105 kilometres of railway line, 10 kilometres of highway tunnels and 11 kilometres of railway tunnels."

"We are cooperating with our Canadian partners on some projects," stated Mr Putin adding that he discussed this issue with the Canadian prime minister in a telephone conversation just before the video conference.

Mr Putin quoted several figures to illustrate the scope of Sochi construction projects. He said, "We are to build 47 bridges and overpasses, 384 kilometres of gas pipeline, a hydroelectric power station, five thermal power stations, 18 booster stations, an airport, a seaport, two hospitals, a clinic for 650 patients, wastewater treatment facilities and a nursery to breed local endangered species of plants."

The prime minister reported that six projects had been completed so far, with construction underway at another 50 facilities. Some of the venues will see their first ski events as soon as late next year.

The prime minister emphasised that "we are taking advantage of the Olympic project not only to construct sports venues, but also to develop Southern Russia, at least the Sochi area."

Speaking with journalists after the video conference, Mr Putin added that some 500 billion roubles of private investment have been attracted to Olympic construction projects in Sochi and preparations for the 2014 Olympics.

During the video conference the prime minister also commented on the progress in the preparations for the 27th Student Games in Kazan, where 13,500 athletes are expected to participate. "I should admit that we anticipate fewer tourists, about 100,000 guests, under a preliminary estimate. We are working on 31 facilities in Kazan, of which nine have been finished. All the necessary funds have been appropriated, specifically 21 billion roubles in 2009 and 2010, and 11 billion roubles in 2011," stated Mr Putin.

In conclusion, the prime minister said that the developments in Sochi and Kazan illustrate "the large scale and ambitious nature of the challenges we face and address."

"The very scope of these projects precludes the possibility of a detailed presentation on each facility. I can simply state ‘It's cool!', and everyone will understand. I hope that along with other incentives, this progress will motivate our Olympic team to win the most valuable Olympic medals in Vancouver," said the prime minister.

He also wished the Olympic team every success, fortitude and good luck on behalf of millions of Russian fans.

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