XXIX Winter Universiade 2019 will take place in Krasnoyarsk, the most eastern city in Russia with a population above one million people. The experience of preparing and holding such a great event can be useful to all of the UCLG-Eurasia members. We asked Mr. Sergey Yeremin, Mayor of Krasnoyarsk about the preparation of the city to become the capital of student sport.
- Mr. Yeremin, let's go back a few years in time. In November 2013 it was announced that XXIX World Winter Universiade will take place in Krasnoyarsk. How did the citizens and you personally feel about this news?
- When the FISU comission made a final decision, I was a member of the Russian delegation in Brussels. We all were incredibly happy to know that Krasnoyarsk will host the Universiade-2019. I was born in Krasnoyarsk, it is my native and beloved city, so, of course, I was very proud as well as all of the citizens. I'm sure, at that moment the citizens and the whole region realized that together we can do a lot. We did our best to gain this honorable opportunity, ahead it was needed to do even more. That time, I was the Minister of Transport of the Krasnoyarsk Region and clearly understood that there was a huge amount of work to be done to host such a magnificent event - the first Winter Universiade in Russia. It was not about transforming Krasnoyarsk into a unique sports place only, but changing many spheres of the city life in a better way. That is why we consider this huge event as an opportunity to develop the infrastructure of the city in the short period of time. In addition, I am sure that the popularity of the city on Yenisey will significantly increase its investment potential. This is especially important shortly before the epochal date – the four-century anniversary of our city, which will take place in 10 years.
- What difficulties does the Mayor of the City face in preparation for such an important international event?
- I would not call it difficulties, but rather a big responsibility for the result. Now Krasnoyarsk is actively preparing for the international event, as one says, on all fronts. “Having rolled up its sleeves” the work in the road facilities, yards and public spaces is humming. To accomplish the posed tasks Krasnoyarsk has the most important thing – the support from the federal center and regional authorities. Significant projects are realized with the support of business. Transformation of the city to the Universiade will be its main heritage which will serve people for many years. There are more than 30 new-built and reconstructed modern objects: infrastructural, sports, medical, etc.
- Has Krasnoyarsk become more attractive to investors after the decision to hold a Universiade in the city?
- Definitely, yes. The key areas of investment are development of sports infrastructure and, of course, hospitality - hotel and restaurant business. To find out how the investment attractiveness of the city increased, you may look at the results of the Krasnoyarsk Economic Forum, where a record number of agreements with business partners was signed. The main areas of cooperation are the improvement of Krasnoyarsk, the creation of an architectural urban environment and the socio-economic development of the city. The total investment amount of the concluded agreements will account for 4.6 billion rubles.
- There are more than 10 kinds of winter sports represented within the framework of the Winter Universiade. Which is the most interesting one for you?
- If there is an opportunity, I like to play hockey. For Krasnoyarsk citizens, this is a very special kind of sport, which can be called a part of the Siberian soul. It is no accident that the hockey with ball was included into the additional program of the Universiade-2019. I am confident that hockey will be one of the brightest impressions of participants and guests of the World Student Games. Although we have something special to impress the foreigners – hockey in felt boots, the traditional Siberian game.
- To conclude the interview, I would like to note that every Universiade is different from the previous ones. What makes the Universiade in Krasnoyarsk special?
- The key slogan of the Universiade in Krasnoyarsk is "Real winter". Despite the fact that the Student Games will take place in March, the first spring month, winter in Siberia will not recede. This is an opportunity for us to show one of the Krasnoyarsk wonders to foreigners – the festival of sculptures made of snow and ice "The Magic Ice of Siberia". I am sure it will be unforgettable.
Well, our main treasure is an amazing natural landscape. The reserve “Stolby”, our islands, which are 10 in the city, the largest one is Tatyshev island - 650 hectares of the wildlife at the heart of the city. It is bigger than the famous Central Park in New York. Our water “king” the Yenisey is the deepest river in the country. Krasnoyarsk Dam is the greatest achievement of the mankind. Still, the main impression of the city will be made by Krasnoyask citizens and their hospitality.
Krasnoyarsk has always been a friendly city; we have 16 twin cities around the world. There are almost a thousand students from 46 countries studying in the Siberian Federal University. I am sure that a part of the Krasnoyarsk soul and the Siberian cordiality will remain in memory of all the participants and guests of the Universiade! This will make the Universiade in Krasnoyarsk special! Come and see!