MOSCOW, June 7 – Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Saturday appointed the founder of the Baltika beer company, one of Russia\’s best known brands, to head the state firm in charge of building for the 2014 Olympics.
Russia is hoping to raise its international prestige by hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics in its southern resort city of Sochi but the economic crisis has sparked concerns whether the building work will be finished on time.
At a ceremony at his out-of-town residence of Novo-Ogarevo, Putin appointed Taimuraz Bolloyev head of Olimpstroi, the state cooperation in charge of overseeing the construction programme for the Olympics, news agencies reported.
He replaces Viktor Kolodyazhny, a former mayor of Sochi, who was appointed just over one year ago. No reason was given for the change at the top of the firm.
Bolloyev founded Baltika in the hectic privatizations of the 1990s and saw it become one of Russia\’s most successful businesses, famous for numbering its beers according to strength and flavour.
It is now owned 100 percent by Danish brewer Carslberg and Bolloyev stepped down as its chairman in 2004.
He now has his own construction firm building business centres in Saint Petersburg and sits on a commission of entrepreneurs that advises Putin. He has been deputy chairman of Olimpstroi since the start of this year.
Jean-Claude Killy, the IOC\’s pointman on the 2014 games, has said Russia faces an "immense" task to build infrastructure largely from scratch for the Games but is confident it can finish the work on time.
To conduct the sports event on the balmy Black Sea coast, Russia needs to spend lavishly on upgrading Soviet-era infrastructure and building new facilities in the hitherto quiet mountain resort of Krasnaya Polyana.
Alpine and nordic skiing races as well as ice sports like luge and bobsleigh will be held in the mountains above Sochi, while other events like ice hockey and skating will take part in Sochi itself, the site of the Olympic village.