Putin: Olympics money might have been misspent
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin reflects on Russia’s preparations for the Vancouver Games: "Maybe the money was spent not on what was needed but instead on what someone wanted to spend it on," Putin told top sports officials that he summoned for a grilling Friday about Russia’s worst-ever performance at the Winter Games. Putin, chairing ...
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin reflects on Russia's preparations for the Vancouver Games:
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin reflects on Russia’s preparations for the Vancouver Games:
"Maybe the money was spent not on what was needed but instead on what someone wanted to spend it on," Putin told top sports officials that he summoned for a grilling Friday about Russia’s worst-ever performance at the Winter Games.
Putin, chairing a meeting to analyze the reasons behind the Olympic flop, said the government had spent about 3.5 billion rubles ($117 million) in three years to prepare for the Vancouver Games — a sum that he claimed was comparable with those spent by the nations that won the most medals.
"I have got an impression that the more money we spend, the more modest the results are," he said, adding that the sum was five times the amount that Russia had spent on preparations for the 2006 Winter Games in Torino.
For a clue as to why the money was misspent, Putin might want to check out Miriam Elder’s recent dispatch for FP:
[T]hose who oversee athletics in Russia often have few sports credentials other than close ties to Putin (who is, after all, a judo master). Mutko, who was appointed sports minister last year, was deputy mayor of the St. Petersburg mayor’s administration where Putin got his start in politics in the 1990s.
Sergei Naryshkin, another St. Petersburg ally and Kremlin chief of staff, heads the swimming federation. Vladimir Lisin, a Kremlin-friendly metals tycoon recently named Russia’s richest man, heads the shooting federation, while Mikhail Prokhorov, Russia’s second-richest man and future owner of the New Jersey Nets basketball team, heads the biathlon union.
Russian athletics are currently governed by an odd system in which political cronies are running sports federations and athletes like speedskating gold-medalist Svetlana Zhurova serve in parliament. Seems like it might work better the other way around.
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating
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