Following an inspection of the Olympic construction sites in Sochi President Vladimir Putin ordered to dismiss Akhmed Bilalov from his positions as the Resorts of the North Caucasus’ Head and the National Olympic Committee’s Vice President. The president’s decision was caused by the breach of the construction’s terms. The worst situation was with construction of ski jumps, which had been due back in 2011.
On Thursday, Putin inspected the Olympic facilities of the Krasnaya Polyana mountainous cluster and was not happy both with the terms of the works and with the major increase of the costs there, the Komsomolskaya Pravda writes. Among others, he was unhappy with the two ski jumps, where the construction was delayed for almost two years, and the cost had grown by almost eight times. “Out of one billion, now it is eight?” the president verified. “Great! Good job!”
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak mentioned claims against Bilalov had been presented earlier, the Moskovsky Komsomolets writes: “The words of the kind, which the president said yesterday at the skin jumps, I did passed to Mr. Bilalov over his participation in this project.” The inspection revealed clear mistakes in projecting the ski jumps. “We have revealed poor geology research, without any calculations, just a project. I did mention to him that the research had been done there not like for ourselves, but like for an enemy. Now, the other shareholder has to install additional piles, to keep the ski jump on that sliding slope.”
Kozak added that formally Bilalov had not been dismissed, though “the decision is in place already.” “Afterwards, he is free to choose a job,” the deputy prime minister said. “As for the relations with the state, in future we shall be cautious with that man.”
By beginning of the APEC summit in Vladivostok, only about every third facility had been constructed – in reality the event was organised at a construction site, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. A similar situation may happen with the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, where the key sport facilities may be put operational – if it comes to the best – with a two-year delay, the newspaper believes.
Russian observers say the Olympic project is at risk. However, they hope the authorities will undertake additional efforts, as the situation may affect the national prestige.
“The Olympic Games are of special importance for the country, and it is not quite correct to compare that construction with the preparations for the APEC summit. Bilalov’s dismissal is only the first change in the staff. Clearly, the substitution of just one person will not solve the problems there. We may expect new managers of the Olympic construction will be working much more intensively,” the newspaper quotes Expert Engineer of 2K engineering company Igor Smirnov as saying. He did not doubt that for a timely final of the construction all necessary assets would be made available.
“About 70 out of 400 planned facilities are outside the schedule. Thus,, the success of the international-scale event is at risk. Violations are numerous: beginning from breaching terms for projection and the fraud attempts with estimates and finishing with doubtful contractors, who are unable to fulfil the obligations they had undertaken. As Russia is loudly positions as the best platform for the 2014 Olympic Games, and since the project is of high image importance, risks of the kind are not acceptable,” AKD electronic trade platform’s Commercial Director Kirill Polyakov said.
Akhmed Bilalov is a person from Dmitry Medvedev’s team, according to the information the RBC daily has received from several sources in the Staraya Square /presidential administration/ and in the government. “Shortly before Medvedev took the Cabinet, Bilalov hoped to take the position of tourism minister,” a governmental official said. “The minister has never been established, but Bilalov’s management abilities have been believed to be quite good.”