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Putin: IOC chose Sochi upon coming to feel Russian people's support for the project

February 03, 2014, 2:17 UTC+3 MOSCOW
President acknowledged that he "was personally choosing" a venue for the Olympics, and that therefore to him "it is particularly gratifying to see what is being done here"
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© ITAR-TASS/Alexei Nikolsky

MOSCOW, February 03, 2:00 /ITAR-TASS/. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) chose Sochi as venue for the Olympics-2014, for it came to see that people of Russia are supportive of the Olympic movement, Russia's President Vladimir Putin pointed out.

Putin relates his conversations with IOC members in the film "The Philosophy of Soft Way", the fragments of which were shown on Sunday in the Vesti Nedeli (News of the Week) programme of the television channel Rossiya (Russia).

The President, giving the interview at Krasnaya Polyana (red forest meadow), acknowledged that he "was personally choosing" a venue for the Olympics, and that therefore to him "it is particularly gratifying to see what is being done here".

"In 2001 or 2002, I arrived here, as far as I remember, in an UAZ (Ulyanovsk autoworks)-made cross-country vehicle," Putin remarked. "We drove about these parts and approached this small river. And I said, "Let us begin from here". And the story began to unfold from the place where a Gazprom complex is located now".

Putin pointed out that when Russia's Bid won and a larger-scale construction began, "a lot has changed and changed for the better" over there. "And, in general, southern Russia undergoes transformation," the Head of State emphasized.

He believes that the IOC chose Sochi upon coming to feel Russian people's support for the project. "The population's support is utterly important. Because in some countries, which are overfed with attention, we, unfortunately, do not see now such support for the Olympic movement. The IOC, however, came to see that in Russia there is such support on the part of the population. And this was also a substantial factor which helped us to score the win," Putin said.

In response to a question who is his main rival, the Head of State answered: "I shall not speak for myself. I shall speak for Russia. Russia has got only one rival -- our land itself, our certain internal problems, mix-ups".

Putin, when commenting on a journalist's remark about corruption, pointed out that "when projects of this kind are being implemented -- whatever the place -- there always arise questions of this sort, and this is a good thing". "Of course, any contractor always seeks to earn as much as possible while the job of the State is to minimize State spending," the President said.

According to Putin, his "purpose now is to reveal drawbacks" and if he arrives at some place and begins to check up and monitor things, he speaks precisely about that. This is why "one may gather the impression that there is nothing good, but it is not so at all".

"Simply, to secure that we get at the finish what we need, it is essential in the process of work always to rake out problems, draw attention to them and react in time. Then there will be the expected result, a positive one, for a full due," the Head of State stressed.

He categorically disagreed with pronouncements to the effect that Russian people cannot build anything normally. "This is slander against Russian people who have built such a state as Russia, the largest state in the world".

Putin also related that IOC rules allow meetings with Committee members prior to the vote on the Olympic bid, and that he personally conversed with many of them. To the President, it was "very appreciable" that several IOC members, upon hearing his arguments about the advantages of Russia's Bid, said "We shall support present-day Russia. We are willing to support it. We need such a country".

The film will be shown in full on February 7, the day of the opening of the XXII Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

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