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MOSCOW, September 4 (R-Sport) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that building the sports facilities for next year's Winter Olympics in Sochi, plus the hosting expenses, will cost around $6.4 billion, but he declined to give a figure for the vast spending on infrastructure.
Russia has been forced to spend big to develop Sochi and the surrounding area, located on the Black Sea about 1,350 kilometers south of Moscow and with no tradition of elite-level winter sports.
“Our country may have invested more in the preparation in general, but we didn’t spend more than any other country on the Olympic facilities,” Putin told Russian Channel One TV. “In total, spending for the preparation of the Olympic Games will reach 214 billion rubles [$6.4 billion].”
According to Putin, 100 billion rubles ($3 billion) of that sum comes from Russian government budgets, with the rest contributed by "investors," a term that covers Russian state-owned companies and a smattering of private investors.
Among the projects not included in the sum are the expansion of Sochi airport, building new rail and road links and the construction of 43 hotels.
In February, a Russian government commission said 1.5 trillion rubles ($45 billion) would be spent in total, $1 million more than the total cost of the 2008 Beijing Games, which holds the record for the most expensive Olympics.
“We spent even more money on the infrastructure,” Putin said. “We did it on purpose in order to make the south of Russia an attractive and comfortable place not only for the time of the Olympics, but for the coming decades.”
The first Winter Olympics in Russia will take place from February 7 to 23.
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