Russia is ready for the FIFA World Cup, according to the status report given by all 11 cities that will host the event. The Fisht Olympic Stadium, which became a one-of-a-kind soccer field after the renovations, was personally inspected by Vladimir Putin and Gianni Infantino, the FIFA President. What's more, just like any other fan, the Russian President was issued a special FAN ID.
Pavel Zarubin reports from Sochi.
Vladimir Putin, a huge soccer fan, now has a season pass that allows him to attend World Cup matches.
— Vladimir Vladimirovich, here you go, this is your FAN ID.
The President, along with 700,000 people from all over the world, has completed his registration process. There are over two dozen of such centers that issue these passes in Russia.
Vladimir Putin: Good luck.
— Thank you.
— It'll be great, you're all so beautiful, you look ready to work. Good luck.
Here, in Sochi, just over a month before the global event, Putin sums up the results of the entire country's years-long work.
Vladimir Putin: «The preparations for the FIFA World Cup are almost finished. Russia is ready for the Championship».
This is a field that just makes you want to begin the game. The grass is soft, durable, and even; it's perfect for the matches. The Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi is now fully ready for the FIFA World Cup. But, a trained eye still sees some things that need to be taken care of.
— What can you possibly weed out of here?
— We're removing unwanted flowers.
Flowers are considered weeds here; the lawn has to be top-quality since it's also meant to prevent injuries.
Right next to the massage tables for the players is an ice machine. Due to its texture, it has a «quick freeze» effect, which is essential for injuries. This is one of the team locker rooms. You can see right away just how comfortable everything is. Each player has their own leather chair, and there's a tactical analysis board. This'll help you beat your opponent. The best soccer players from all over the world will be in this locker room, but it's clear who will have the most attention from the Russian audience.
Vladimir Putin: «We all hope that our players will devote themselves to the game entirely, that they will perform to the best of their ability. Mainly, I hope they'll show us the determined, uncompromising soccer that fans love so much. I think it'll be good to wish the best of luck to our players and the coaching staff».
At night, the Fisht Stadium shimmers with the tricolor of the Russian flag. It's an infatuating sight that is visible to passengers of all the flights that land in Sochi. This modern stadium is basically a mini-city that's meticulously managed from this control room. The cameras allow them to monitor any of the tens of thousands of fans in seconds, no matter which set of bleachers they happen to be on, and to identify the person using a facial recognition system. The security issue is essential at a championship that's hosting so many guests from all over the world in various Russian cities.
Vladimir Putin: «Law enforcement agencies must make sure to fulfill their duties correctly and delicately. They must remember that this Championship is a huge event for fans from all over the world».
The President of FIFA was in a festive mood during his interview with Vesti. He was absolutely amazed by the stadiums in Russia.
Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA: «They're absolutely beautiful, they're fantastic. They unite soccer, passion, and history. They're all built for a celebration, and that's what we'll do this summer. We'll celebrate and honor soccer with the entire world.»
Vacationers enjoying this Volga river cruise can now admire the new stadium at the foot of Mamayev Kurgan. The area around the arena is also changing; the renovations of the memorial park are almost done.
This stadium in Ekaterinburg is a pinnacle of Soviet architecture. It became the new symbol of this powerful industrial city after undergoing grand renovations. It is a symbiosis of state-of-the-art technology and respect for the past.
Igor Kungurtsev, the Project Developer's Assistant Manager: «It's the crest, the statues, the torches, the flowerpots, and the wall carvings; they were all meticulously preserved or restored using the original blueprints.»
In Mordovia's capital, a big new neighborhood was built at the same time as the stadium. It now has many much-needed hotels, condos, a preschool, and a school. All the World Cup host cities look more cared-for now, which should become the norm from now on.
Vladimir Putin: «The point is not to push deadlines or to show off. Establishing order and urban beautification is the day-to-day job of municipal authorities. Most importantly, it's in the interest of the local residents».
Governors of all hosting cities are teleconferencing with Putin against the backdrops of their stadiums.
The new arena in Nizhny Novgorod has successfully hosted two test matches, with a third one on the way. A new subway station will open in time for the Championship, which is a grand event for any multi-million-strong city. They've already renovated a railroad station, and a gorgeous airport is now fully operational.
The new arena in Samara has also already seen some test games. This is the biggest stadium of all the ones built. At night, it's so iridescent that it resembles a spaceship. The region that's so proud of its aerospace achievements now also has this symbol. They also have new multi-level junctions and a majestic airport terminal.
Rostov-on-Don A revolution in infrastructure development was accomplished in Rostov-on-Don. The city's critical Voroshilovsky Bridge has been expanded and renovated. A new airport that was built from scratch in an open field is now open.
Vladimir Putin: «For the first time in the history of the FIFA World Cup, Russia has guaranteed free transportation for fans. In order to achieve this, over 700 additional trains have been provided. Air transport should also be convenient and available».
In the locker rooms of Kazan's stadium, they even have hot tubs. The capital of Tatarstan, which did an excellent job hosting the Universiade, is ready to do an even better job hosting the Championship.
A stadium with state-of-the-art equipment is also ready in Russia's westernmost city.
They have additional power outlets so that the players can charge their devices. Due to soil peculiarities, the arena in Kaliningrad was built atop piles. However, they're certain that the new stadium will prepare many generations of the best soccer players.
Due to the unpredictable weather in «the northern capital, » this stadium was built covered.
Everything that was built all over the country will continue being of service to Russians even after the World Cup.
Vladimir Putin: «It's important for us to leave a positive, grand legacy of the FIFA World Cup. This includes the new structures, buildings, infrastructure, logistics, and children's sports».
The two most important stadiums in the capital of Russia are Spartak and Luzhniki. Moscow will host the Championship's opening, and the winner will also be determined here. This incredible event will definitely become a hefty boost for sports development in the country.
Vladimir Putin: «With this, we must not just promote professional soccer, we must expand programs for children, making sure each of these places has a soccer field for kids».
The President of FIFA asked to speak at the meeting after seeing how Russia had prepared for the event.
Vladimir Putin: «May I ask the translator to approach me?»
Based on his mood, Gianni Infantino looks very pleased as he expresses his gratitude to Russia.
Gianni Infantino: «Dear Mr. President, I'd like to thank you and all the regions (of Russia). We have a team, just like in soccer. We work together, and we'll win this FIFA World Cup. Together, we'll make it the best one ever. Thank you very much».
The best World Cup ever is scheduled to begin on June 14th.
Pavel Zarubin, Andrey Melnikov, Aleksey Karpukhin, Andrey Sorokin, Dmitry Ermolenko, Aleksandr Berezhnoy, and the entire VGTRK news bureau team working all over the country. Vesti.