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Access to certain areas of Sochi to be restricted during Olympics

October 2, 2013 — Restricted and enhanced security zones will be set up in Sochi during next year's Olympics, head of the Federal Security Service Alexei Lavrishchev said Wednesday a news conference held as part of the project Olympic Encounters at RIA. The speakers also included Federal Security Service's chief communications officer Nikolai Zakharov; Anton Gusev, first deputy head of the Interior Ministry's large sporting events security department; and Dmitry Perlin, head of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee's division for public relations and ticketing.

"The introduction of restricted and enhanced security zones is a universal practice at large international events, including the Olympics," Lavrishchev said. "Usually, such measures do not cause any major inconveniences." The list of zones was released in an August 19 presidential executive order. Restricted zones include Olympic venues, the Olympic Park and the Olympic Villages, as well as Sochi's sea port, railroad terminal and airport. "Checkpoints will be created in those zones, and to be allowed in, one will have to produce a ticket and fan passport or Olympics accreditation," the official explained.

According to Dmitry Perlin, fan passports worked well during rehearsal events held in Sochi ahead of the Olympics, such as the Biathlon World Cup and the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships. Some 40,000 fan passports were issued during those rehearsal events and quickly became coveted souvenirs. "People enjoyed carrying the passports around, and were proud to get one," he said.

Traffic access to Sochi will also be restricted from January 7 through March 21, Lavrishchev said. The ban will not apply to trains or locally licensed motor vehicles, emergency service and other critical vehicles, and vehicles servicing the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Special lanes will be created on some Sochi roads for Olympics guests and participants, and there will be a daytime restriction on trucks.

Lavrishchev said Russian and foreign guests will be free to move around outside designated restricted areas, but emphasized that to enter any of the enhanced security zones, a ticket or accreditation will be required.

Motor vehicles will also need permits to enter Sochi during the Olympics, Gusev added. "There will be two types of permits: One for non-residents to drive into the city and the other to access any of the Olympic sites. Sochi residents won't need the former kind."

According to Gusev, city-access permits will be available at the Sochi Olympics Transport Administration, while individuals and organizations seeking permits to access Olympic sites will have to apply with the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee.

"In addition, restrictions will be imposed on the use of private vehicles during the Olympics, " Gusev warned. "This is necessitated not just by security concerns, but also by the distinctive geography of Sochi, stretching along a coastline strip." According to Gusev, additional public transportation lines will be introduced to make up for the inconvenience.

Gusev also told reporters about where to turn to for help in the event of ID loss or theft during the Sochi Olympics. "The procedure will be identical for Russian and foreign nationals," he said. "Individuals will need to talk to the nearest police officer on duty or to call the toll-free numbers 02 or 112." He said the police personnel selected to work at the Sochi Olympics had received foreign-language training and that each police department would have interpreters on hand.

According to the speakers, security at the Sochi Olympics will be an international effort. Cooperation has been established with special services and law-enforcement agencies of more than 80 countries, Lavrishchev said, adding that some foreign special services would have representatives working on the ground during the Games.

Addressing reporters' concerns that such security measures were excessive, Lavrishchev said security at Sochi would be maintained in accordance with international practices, and that the related measures here would be no stricter than those taken for the London Olympics. "Security [measures] won't be conspicuous, " the official said. "They won't stand out, and they won't stand in the way of the Olympics participants and guests."

 

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