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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Calls Sewage an Olympic Problem

ReutersSunbathers watching International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge as he tours Sochi late last week.
President Vladimir Putin said the team preparing Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics faced a battle not just building new stadiums but with simple infrastructure problems like sewage.

"We unfortunately have to admit that at this point, in a city of half a million people, there is no proper sewage system, electricity supply or infrastructure," Putin said during a meeting Thursday with International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge at his Bocharov Ruchei residence in Sochi.

"All this will have to be resolved in preparation for the Olympics," Putin said, according to a transcript posted on the Kremlin web site.

At the meeting, Putin unveiled the makeup of the committee organizing the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

Newly appointed Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov is to chair the committee, while other members include Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov and Dmitry Chernyshenko, who headed Sochi's successful bid for the Games.

Semyon Vainshtok, former president of the Transneft oil pipeline monopoly, will lead a new, state-owned corporation tasked with all the construction work necessary for hosting the Olympics, Putin said.

Other heavy hitters on the committee include longtime Putin ally Dmitry Kozak and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin. Kozak was appointed regional development minister in last week's Cabinet reshuffle, while Kudrin was promoted to deputy prime minister.

Putin, who spent the week at Sochi after announcing the new Cabinet on Monday, played host to Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero on Friday. The two leaders pledged to raise the level of Spanish investment in Russia.

Putin also met Finnish President Tarja Halonen for an informal visit at his residence outside Moscow on Sunday.