Archive for April, 2008

Direct flights from Vienna are now on regular basis

Sochi News April 22nd, 2008

A year ago, around the time International Olympic Committee’s visit to Sochi, several direct flights from Austria were launched to Sochi mostly to “impress” the IOC members. Now, when Sochi has become an official 2014 Olympic host city, Austrian Airlines launched regular direct flights from Vienna to Sochi.

The schedule Vienna-Sochi-Vienna:

Flight days Departure Arrival
Mon., Wed., Fri. OS615  Vienna  22.30 h Sochi 03.30 h (+1)
Tue., Thu., Sat. OS616  Sochi 05.10 h Vienna  06.25 h

Few Olympic News (04.2008)

Olympics 2014 April 22nd, 2008

* Sochi mayor Viktor Kolodyazhny resigns to become head of «Olympstroy» corporation owned by state which will control all Olympic related construction in Sochi, and, of course, the money flow. You can read more on this in The Moscow Times. The acting mayor for now will be Vladimir Afanasenkov — Vice Governor of Krasnodarsky Krai. He too was previously involved in Sochi’s Olympic bid.

* Russia launches Olympic brand protection campaign:

“Sochi 2014 Organising Committee and Russian authorities today began the first ever mass intellectual property protection campaign to safeguard the Olympic brand in Russia.

Sochi quick fact: Population

Sochi News April 20th, 2008

Quick fact: The population of Sochi is around 400,000 people. The surrounding, Krasnodar region (aka Krasnodar Krai), is home to 5.1 million people, and is the third largest Russian region.

Photos from Gazprom’s ski resort: Psekhako Ridge

Development April 20th, 2008

Psekhako Ridge. Gazprom ski resort in Krasnaya Polyana, Sochi, Russia.This is continuation of the photoset from the Gazprom’s new ski resort in Krasnaya Polyana. These photos are from the top of the ski-lift first stage at the Psekhako Ridge. You can find photos of resot’s base here.

Mountain Resort (second stage)

Gazprom carries out engineering and preparation for the second stage of Mountain Resort construction. The second construction stage includes pistes, ski stadium and other facilities at the Psekhako Ridge. Said facilities will be used during the Olympic Winter Games in 2014. Construction of the Olympic Ski Stadium with operating facilities will be finished in 2010.

The second construction stage also includes 4 ropeways, ski lifts, summer sports facilities, multilevel car parking, 300 and 180 room hotels, Cultural Center with waterpark, conference halls, restaurants, cafes and trading area.
– from press release

So, here we go, the photos: Read the rest of this entry »

Photos from Gazprom’s “Laura” ski resort

Development, Russia April 20th, 2008

Laura ski lift in Krasnaya PolyanaHere are several photos from brand spanking new «Laura» resort (official name “The mountain-ski center «Gazprom»”) launched this winter season!

At present Gazprom constructs a Mountain Resort in the Achipse River valley and at the Psekhako Ridge. Gazprom finishes the first stage of construction including 8 ropeways, ropeway lower station with utility rooms, ski lifts, 220 room hotel, 32 villas, guest house for official delegations, volleyball playground, tennis courts as well as energy supply, security, communication facilities and other operating and auxiliary facilities. In the end of 2007 Gazprom plans to commission all facilities of the first construction stage.

– from Gazprom’s press release

See map and all 15 photos: Read the rest of this entry »

Foreigner? Welcome to Abkhazia!

Other stories April 7th, 2008

Flag of AbkhaziaBy far the most common way (the only way?) to enter Abkhazia from Russia is through Sochi. For a while foreigners (except Russian citizens and members of UN) were not able to enter Abkhazia. I don’t know when it has changed, but it is not a problem now — just make sure you have multiple entry Russian visa. The only way out of Abkhazia is back to Russia, as transit to Georgia is not permitted by Abkhazian government. Actually, I’ve heard of charter boats between Abkhazia and Turkey, but I don’t know what’s the deal there.

Map: Sochi and Abkhazia

This good information shared Sergei Bagapsh, the President of Abkhazia during an interview to the Russia’s biggest online news source

Sergei Bagapsh: Citizens of third countries can enter Abkhazia with out any problems. If a tourist has multiple entry Russian visa, he can come to Abkhazia with it as well. Many foreigners visit Abkhazia these days.

Link on topic: Official website of the President of Abkhazia.

Sniper on the roof greets Bush with his “gun”

Other stories, Sochi News April 7th, 2008

This is sort of vulgar entertainment story, if you want to skip it it’s just fine :)

While Bush’s visit to Sochi was pretty boring (Sochi’s all about pleasure, not business, you should know it by now :)), brings us a wonderful story – with video – from the roof of Sochi’s airport. Literally.

American presidential security boys have arrived a day early and settled in around Sochi’s airport to ensure safe landing of their president. When the time came, while Air Force One was on its way down, one US sniper, located on the airport’s roof, “took it out” and emptied his bladder. Here’s a photo, and you can watch the video on this page.

Sniper on the roof, while Bush visits Sochi.

George W. Bush in Sochi

Russia, Sochi News April 5th, 2008

Bush in SochiAir Force One has landed today in Adler airport, marking the beginning US President’s first visit to Sochi on his two days work trip. It will most likely be the last time George W. Bush and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will meet as presidents, as Putin’s second presidential term will end in May.

There was no official word on what will be discussed during the meeting, but there sure are a lot of issues to be discussed between the US and Russia. Like Kosovo, anti-missile defense (many believe this one will be the main topic), NATO expansion, the Russian-U.S. relations and many other. «The Times» reports that Putin will officially propose the tunnel between Alaska and Russia’s Far East. And Russian media reports about possibility of signing a “strategic framework” document — sort of “road map” of the Russia-US relations, the guide for Next Russian and US Presidents (the next Russian President will take office in May and the presidential elections in the USA will take place in the end of this year).

The US delegation has 700 people, including US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, and US Ambassador to Russia William Burns. Russian delegation will include all their counterparts, and president-elect Dmitry Medvedev.

The first day is over now and there was no official “business” talks, it was all about pleasure: Putin gave tour to George and Laura Bush of future Olympic areas, presented scale models of Olympic projects, sea shore walk and sunset watch (how romantic *rolling eyes*), fancy dinner with a concert in presidential residence “Bocharov Ruchei”.

Bush and Putin in Sochi 2008

Other non-political plans for Bush and Rice this weekend includes Read the rest of this entry »