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MOSCOW, October 6 (Itar-Tass) - President Vladimir Putin has met the Olympic flame on the Red Square.
The Olympic flame has arrived in Moscow from Greece.
The president has gotten out of the gates of the Kremlin’s Spasskaya Tower and gone to the Red Square jointly with young athletes where the Olympic flame has been carried. The flame has arrived in the Kremlin from Vnukovo’s Airport.
The Olympic flame has been accompanied by vice-premier Dmitry Kozak, head of the Russian Olympic Committee Alexander Zhukov, Prince Albert II of Monaco, president of the Sochi 2014 organising committee Dmitry Chernyshenko and six-time Olympic champion Lidiya Skoblikova.
Speaking at a ceremony, Putin said: “Today is a joyful and solemn day: the Olympic flame, a symbol of key sportive competitions on the planet, a symbol of friendship and peace, has arrived in Russia and go throughout our territory in several minutes.”
The relay will become the unique one because the Olympic flame will go through regions and “see Russia as it is and as we love it”, Putin said.
During the relay, “one can watch the scale and the beauty of Russia, its rich nature and its unique culture”, the president said. “You can see the achievements of the multiethnic society. Common goals unite our people who are proud of the great nation whose values are based on fairness, mutual assistance, support, openness and friendship, respect, equality and diversity,” Putin said.
These principles coincide with the ideals of the Olympic movement, he said. “It’s natural that Russia likes sports so much and values all what is linked to it,” the president said, adding, “Without the active support from the public and Russian citizens it would be impossible to carry out such grandiose sportive projects. The Olympic Games in Sochi has become our real common cause and our common dream.”
Putin thanked all who is taking part in preparations for the Olympic Games and all who supports their success. “Such people are trusted to bring the Olympic flame throughout Russia. Athletes and public figures, professors, doctors, students and the older generation won confidence in becoming part of the Olympic history,” the head of state said.
Putin said he is sure that the relay “will light the spark in hearts of millions of people while the Olympic torch [the firebird’s feather was the prototype of the Olympic torch] will bring joy and luck to millions of residents of Russia”.
“A happy journey to the XXII winter Olympic Games,” the president said.