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    Russian Press - Behind the Headlines, April 29

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    Canadians to boost Russia’s 2014 Olympic chances / President Medvedev calls news conference in May / Victory Day commemoration will not use Stalin’s portrait

    Moskovsky Komsomolets

    Canadians to boost Russia’s 2014 Olympic chances

    The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) is to sign a contract with the company that ensured Canada’s Vancouver victories. For $5 million the miracle strategists committed themselves to winning 14 gold medals for Russia.

    ROC is to sign a contract with Allinger Consulting Inc (Canada). The company undertakes to guarantee the Russian national team outstanding results at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. The contract runs to 2016. ROC Vice President Akhmed Bilalov was quoted by Vedomosti as saying the contract value is broadly similar to that for the Canadian team ahead of the Vancouver Olympics. One ROC official said the contract was worth $5 million.

    Allinger Consulting Inc developed a successful training strategy for Canada. In 2010, Canadian athletes won 14 gold medals and top place in unofficial team ratings. Their contract with Russia specifies that the Russian team must win at least 14 gold medals in 2014. Russian athletes harvested 15 medals at the Vancouver Olympics.

    Under the contract, Allinger Consulting Inc will develop a step-by-step training program for the team, creating a pool of potential champions. The strategy will be individually tailored to each athlete. Consultants will observe training sessions, adjusting the program where necessary. They may also dismiss athletes who are not up to scratch. Allinger will have regular discussions about the athletes’ training progress with the sports federation managers and will report on the latest technologies in sports training and healthcare quarterly. The company will be on the lookout for sports equipment experts and will establish a “success promotion group” (doctors specializing in sports medicine, specialist dietitians and experts in sports biomechanics).

    One sports official said that funds Gazprom recently donated will be used to pay Allinger. Going forward, he added, federal funding for professional sports will be gradually reduced, as current levels do not encourage efficient spending.

    Russia took 11th place in the 2010 Olympics. Deputy Prime Minister and ROC President Alexander Zhukov strongly criticized the Sports Ministry and several sports federations at a meeting that focused specifically on team results. It was at that meeting when Allinger introduced themselves to sports federation managers.

    Nezavisimaya Gazeta

    President Medvedev calls news conference in May

    A short announcement on the Kremlin website has aroused great interest among the media community, triggering a host of speculation: President Dmitry Medvedev will hold a news conference on May 18.

    The announcement contained no details on the subject, time or venue of the event.  Interested Russian and foreign journalists were invited to apply for accreditation online. Apart from the date of the event, it only included one vague statement that the venue and “admission procedure” will be posted later.

    Medvedev has never shown a taste for public appearances. Unlike his predecessor, he has never called a large news conference during his term in office, which is why the announcement was sure to cause a stir in the media community. The wildest speculations appeared in blogs. An hour after the announcement, some bloggers excitedly suggested the president might finally reveal the sacramental truth on the future of the tandem and the “problem 2012.”

    Although other media sources refrained from making any far-reaching allegations, they still could not help using catchy headlines with emphasis on this conference being “unexpected” and “first ever.”

    Presidential spokesperson Natalia Timakova eased some of the passions three hours later by making a longer and clearer statement: “We aren’t planning to break any airtime records. It will be just a regular 90-minute televised news conference.” She was clearly making a reference to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s latest televised Q&A session, which was held last December and when he talked to the nation for 4.5 hours. Timakova said the president decided to meet “the large number of interview requests from the Russian and foreign press,” for which Medvedev has no time.

    Although Timakova said the accreditation was open and any Russian or foreign journalist could apply, the online form on www.kremin.ru warns that filling it out will not result in “automatic admission.”

    Reporters will be free to ask questions, Timakova said, adding that no sensational statements should be expected.

    As for the venue of the news conference, she in fact aroused even more curiosity by saying that it “will be of interest to regional and foreign reporters as well as the Kremlin pool.”


    Victory Day commemoration will not use Stalin’s portrait

    A total of 300,000 rubles ($10,949), collected nationwide by Stalinist bloggers for a Victory Day commemoration featuring placards bearing the Soviet dictator’s profile on shuttle buses across Moscow, will be allocated to amateur archeologists combing former battle sites instead.

     Josef Stalin’s profile was to have adorned fixed route taxis across Moscow and five other Russian cities from May 3. The organizers claimed they had signed one-month contracts with bus service provider Avtoline operating in the Russian capital. Three Mercedes Benz mini-buses were to have carried pictures of the medal For Victory Over Germany in the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War, complete with Stalin’s profile.

    On Wednesday, the Dva Miga (Two Instances) advertising agency said it was refusing to apply these designs bearing Stalin’s image.

    “This is a misunderstanding,” Dmitry Lyskov, one of the organizers of the PR campaign, told Izvestia. “We had not signed any contracts with the Dva Miga agency and are acting through another advertising agency. I can see no objective reasons to cancel the campaign. The Federal Anti-Monopoly Service’s Moscow division has already said that this use of Stalin’s image does not violate any advertising law,” Lyskov added.

    The agency’s general director, Alexei Tarasov, confirmed that no contracts had been signed and that the talks had been conducted through an intermediary (Lady Music advertising agency). “A layout incorporating an image of Stalin was submitted. We said we don’t place political advertisements in any form. They assured us that Stalin’s image would be replaced with a depiction of a medal but didn’t say this would be the medal For Victory Over Germany. The new layout included Stalin’s profile on that medal. After I told the media that we are not going to fulfill this order, I received a letter from Mr. Lyskov insisting that we place this advertisement. But we replied firmly that no image of Stalin will be displayed.”

    Nonetheless, Avtoline will do its bit to congratulate war veterans: operating 20 festively decorated buses on May 9. The funds collected by Stalinist bloggers will be used to finance amateur archeologists in their research on former battle sites.

    RIA Novosti is not responsible for the content of outside sources.

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