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Russian professor from US works as volunteer at Olympic press center in Rio

August 03, 4:49 UTC+3 RIO DE JANEIRO
Prior to becoming a volunteer, Grigory Dmitriyev passed exams in French, German, English and Spanish
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© Valerij Sharifulin/TASS

RIO DE JANEIRO, August 2 /TASS/. A Russian professor from the University of South Georgia is working as a volunteer at the Rio Olympics 2016 press center for the first time in his life. Grigory Dmitriyev moved to the United States from the former Soviet Union 26 years ago. He told TASS he would use his valuable Brazilian experience at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

"I am Doctor of Science and a member of the Russian Academy of Social and Pedagogical Sciences," the 67-year-old professor said.

"Prior to my retirement, I started thinking what I would do when I am on pension. I decided to become a volunteer and remember my young days in the former Soviet Union where I took part in ‘subbotniks’ (voluntary day of work on Saturday); yielded harvest and worked at a horticultural base free of charge. Now I am retired and I receive my monthly pension - 2,000 US dollars from the United States and about 200 US dollars from Russia," Dmitriyev said.

"I am working as a volunteer at the Olympics for the first time. I like everything so far. I am thinking of working as a volunteer at the 2018 World Cup to be held in Russia," Dmitriyev told TASS.

"I know that I need to submit my application before the yearend. Prior to the World Cup, I want to go to the Winter Olympics in South Korea which will also take place in 2018," the professor turned volunteer said.

Prior to becoming a volunteer, Dmitriyev passed exams in French, German, English and Spanish. "After that I had to undergo another three tests: the psychology of relations, communications, etc. In March this year, I received an invitation for the Olympics. I started training via the Internet in May. I took about eight training courses," he said.

"I have been in Rio for five days. I work 9 hours for three days with one day off. What will I do in my free time? I would like to go to see the competitions but they have not offered any tickets so far. I hope I will get something later," Dmitriyev said.

The trip to Rio cost Dmitriyev 3,500 US dollars. "No one will compensate this sum to me. But I have no regrets that I have paid it. I also have to pay for my stay here. But had the Russian team been banned from the Olympics, I would not have come here at all. I am a patriot and I see no reason for coming here without Russia," the Russian professor said adding he had not met a single volunteer from the former USSR so far.

"It is not surprising. A trip from Russia to the other end of the globe is expensive. How the people here are treating me? Some turn suspicious when they hear that I am Russian. But most people around me are friendly," Dmitriyev added.

He believes that those who fall silent when they learn about his nationality have fallen victim to the aggressive propaganda against Russia.

"If they hear that the Russians are bad and win only thanks to doping every day, some of them may start believing that it is true," the Russian professor from the United States said.

Dmitriyev told TASS he was happy to work as a volunteer for a change. "For example, today I helped your colleagues from Latvia, Kazakhstan, Canada and many other countries. I found it interesting to stay at the door for the first time and say ‘You are welcome’ but it is normal. I should make it clear to myself that today I am not a professor but a volunteer who needs to do any job. I am planning to stay here until the end of the Games," Dmitriyev stressed.

The Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will take place on August 5-21.

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