MOSCOW, May 16 (RIA Novosti)
The coach of Russia's youth hockey team has taken the vacant senior job at KHL team CSKA Moscow with a mandate to restore its former glory, the club's owner Rosneft announced Wednesday.
Valery Bragin, 55, took over the national youth team in 2010 and led it to world championship gold the next year.
CSKA fans hope he can breathe new life into a once-dominant team that has not won a championship since the Soviet collapse, and has been mired in controversy since Rosneft, the state oil giant, saved it from bankruptcy in November.
"Rosneft managed to attract high-class specialists who belong to the elite of Russian hockey, to form the CSKA board," said a Rosneft statement. "Today's meeting has set the tasks of bulding a new team."
In addition to Bragin, CSKA also brought in former NHL star Sergei Fedorov as sporting director. Fedorov, who won three Stanley Cups with Detroit Red Wings during his 20-year NHL career, had his playing contract at Metallurg Magnitogorsk expire this year.
"The basic aim, defined by the Supervisory Board, is the rebirth of the past glory of CSKA hockey and the formation of the world-class club," the statement said.
Former Rosneft chairman Igor Sechin, a close confidant of President Vladimir Putin, was appointed the head of the club's supervisory board.
Members include two former CSKA and national team coaches in eight-time world champion Viktor Tikhonov, and five-time world champion Vyacheslav Bykov.
CSKA was in financial disarray until November, when Rosneft snuffed out $3 million worth of debts and took control of the club.
In January CSKA president and former NHL star Slava Fetisov walked out in acrimonious circumstances, complaining of Rosneft's "sickening" influence in team affairs.
A month later 61-year-old Slovakian coach Julius Supler, who was considered Fetisov's man, was fired for the "unsatisfactory results" despite almost guaranteeing CSKA's qualification for the KHL playoffs two matches before the end of the regular season.
Under acting coach Vyacheslav Butsaev CSKA crashed out of the first playoff round with a 4-1 series defeat to SKA Petersburg in March.
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The British experience can be instructive for Russia. London retains its British Commonwealth if it wants to use this as a foundation for integration in the future. That’s a valuable lesson for Russian experts who are calling for an end to “ineffective” associations like the CIS, the Russian World and others.