Putin Puts Weight Behind Russian Olympic Bid

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SAM Magazine-Krasnaya Polyana, Russia, Mar. 1, 2007-Russian president Vladimir Putin made a surprise visit to Krasnaya Polyana during the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Evaluation Commission for the XXII Winter Olympics inspection tour of the resort and nearby city, Sochi.

"Sochi is the only place in Russia with a combination of developed infrastructure, mild climate and such ideal conditions for winter sports," said Putin. He declared that Russia has the potential to create ski resorts of equal quality to France or Switzerland, and that continued development in Krasnaya Polyana would make the resort a global destination.

While the resort remains primarily a destination for Russians and skiers from Eastern Europe, a smattering of North American film crews have shot there in recent seasons, producing haunting images of bare trees and deep powder snow.