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June 4, 2009

Private cash enough to carry 2014 Games, Russian government says

MOSCOW

The Russian government won’t finance the preparations for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi this year and next because there is enough financial support from private investors, a top government official said June 2.

Alexander Zhukov, the deputy prime minister overseeing preparations in the Black Sea resort, said the funds raised by Sochi’s local organizing committee exceed the government’s expectations.

He said the move will save the government 2.7 billion rubles (C$96 million) rubles over the next two years.

Zhukov also said the organizing committee has a four-billion-ruble (C$142-million) budget surplus, but pledged that Russia would resume state financing in 2011.

The global financial crisis has raised concern about Russia’s ability to pay for the Games, with most facilities being built from scratch.

The government conservatively estimated last year that the 200 construction projects for the 2014 Olympics would cost US$12 billion. The state was set to put up $7.5 billion, with the rest coming from the private sector.

Associated Press

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