Russian President Putin Puts Heat On Sochi Officials Over Delays In Olympics Preparation
Russian President Vladimir Putin "ordered officials to quickly overcome failures and delays in preparing the Sochi Winter Olympics and said he expected nothing less than a 'brilliant Games,'" according to Denis Dyomkin of REUTERS. The Black Sea resort city and Olympic Village "still resemble a construction site five months before the start of the Games on which Putin has staked a great deal of national and personal political prestige." Work "is still under way on venues and other infrastructure." He "gave no details of the delays and problems, except to express consternation over recent flooding at Sochi airport, which has been upgraded by a company owned by Oleg Deripaska, one of Russia's top businessmen." Passengers "had to wade through ankle-deep water at Sochi airport earlier this month during heavy rain." Putin asked, "Who is responsible for Sochi airport? We already have complaints about passenger services." The airport terminal, which "is expected to have to cope with up to 3,800 passengers an hour during the Games, has been updated" at a cost of about $200M by Basel Aero, a company which is part of a group owned by metals tycoon Deripaska (REUTERS, 9/16). R-SPORT reported with 144 days to go until the Opening Ceremony, Putin "ordered the government's Olympic supervisor Dmitry Kozak to send him fortnightly reports and said he would drop into the host city on a regular basis to keep tabs on the work." He said, "I'm going to be coming here more often" (R-SPORT, 9/16).