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President Putin to spend the last pre-Olympic week in Sochi

February 04, 2014, 2:44 UTC+3 SOCHI
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SOCHI, February 04, (ITAR-TASS). Russian President Vladimir Putin will spend the last pre-Olympic week in Sochi meeting the International Olympic Committee leadership and his foreign colleagues who will attend the Sochi Olympic Games opening ceremony alongside with the Russian president on February 7.

The Kremlin press service told Itar-Tass that on Tuesday Putin was expected to deliver a speech at the opening of the 126th session of the International Olympic Committee where he would have a chance to meet the IOC members.

On February 5, the Russian president will visit the coastal Olympic village where he will welcome a Russian Olympic Committee delegation. He will also see how the Russian national flag is going to be raised. After that, Putin will talk to the athletes of the Russian Olympic team and will make a short tour of the village to see its infrastructure.

On Thursday, February 6, Putin will start a series of meetings with foreign colleagues, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev and some other foreign leaders.

The opening of the XXII Winter Olympic Games in Sochi will certainly be the presidential trip’s highlight. The opening ceremony will start at 20:14 Moscow time on February 7. About 40,000 spectators will gather for it at the Fisht stadium in Sochi while more than 3 billion people around the globe will be able to watch it live on TV. More than 40 heads of state and government will be present at the opening ceremony to be preceded by a formal reception in their honor to be given by the Russian president.

About 60 foreign leaders are planning to visit the Olympic and Paralympic events in Sochi.

Putin has taken the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games under personal control. He had started the pre-Olympic marathon years before the International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded the right to host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games to Russia in 2007. In a film titled “The Philosophy of the Soft Way” the fragments of which were recently shown on the Rossiya RV channel, Putin said that he personally chose a place for the future Olympics when he arrived in the Sochi mountains, where skiing runs and ski-jumps were now located, in an UAZ auto in the early 2000s. A lot of things have improved in Sochi since then. According to Putin, “southern Russia is transforming”. In recent years, Putin has visited Sochi, which is also known as “Russia’s southern capital”, several times a year to personally inspect the construction sites and other preparations.

The brilliantly held Olympic Games are the only result that’s going to suit President Putin. He also hopes that the transformed resort town of Sochi will stay “for centuries”.

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