President Vladimir Putin paid a visit to Artek to review the three-year effort to overhaul the International Children’s Center. He also inspected the construction site of a new camp, Solnechny. Along with the children, Vladimir Putin opened Artek’s seventh shift on the stage of Artek-Arena, the new cinema and concert center.
While attending the opening of the seventh shift at the Children’s Center, President Vladimir Putin wished children from 57 regions of Russia and 15 foreign countries that the friendship they find there and the “distinguished title of an Artek child” will accompany them throughout their life.
“Artek has faced many difficulties in recent years, but now it is being revived as an international camp,” he said, adding that “the best of the best from our country and elsewhere” always came to Artek. “I know that you are being taught the main thing – how to make friends. And I am calling on you to do that. No matter where your peers come from, you should always know that they are your friends,” Putin said.
Artek Director Alexei Kasprzhak told the President about the three-year effort to restore the camp and plans for further development. Eventually the center will be able to receive 10,000 children at a time as opposed to 3,500 now. Mr. Kasprzhak remarked that the children not only come from Russia but also from other countries, including the United States, Ukraine, Syria and Europe.
The President also visited the cafeteria during lunchtime and offered good wishes to a boy celebrating his birthday. He also sampled an Artek specialty, blini, that the children had cooked themselves.
After that Putin inspected the Sports Palace and the children’s living conditions. He also visited the Khokhloma Painting folk craft workshop, where children presented him with a toy they had made with their own hands.
Next, Putin headed for the Lazurny Camp, which has been part of Artek since 1937. There he looked from a viewing platform at the construction site of a new camp for 1,000 children, Solnechny, located next to Lazurny.
In a 200-year-old park, the President met children near the Wish Tree and asked them what they liked most in Artek, a place with a long and glorious history.
The children told him about interesting programs, thoughtful counselors and other highlights, as well as that the chance to go to Artek was for them a long awaited reward for their achievements.
“I like to sail and I’m continuing my training at Artek,” Rodion Gavryushenko of St. Petersburg said. “I like it here, and we’ll soon put out to sea. That’s cool.”
Kirill Gramotny from Simferopol told Putin that he was enthusiastic about Tae Kwon Do. The President not only answered his questions but he asked him how far his ambitions reached and what he would like to achieve in the short term.
“I wish you success. I hope you won’t use your knowledge where it isn’t wanted,” the President said.
“Talking to the President in such an informal way is unforgettable,” the boy said afterwards.
Anna Tarasova from Yekaterinburg described the nautical group that “provides good physical training, teaches teamwork, and motivates you to improve.” “I’m really happy that I could sit next to the President and share my thoughts and feelings with him in a warm, informal and friendly way,” she said after the meeting.
Anna Bardina from Saratov told the President about her visit to the Kerch Bridge construction project. “It’s an impressive sight, a huge construction project employing, as we were told, 10,000 workers. Standing on the viewing platform out there, we felt proud for our country that can build such a large and important facility,” she said.
The President left an inscription and his signature in memory of his visit to the Children’s Center on the site where Artek’s first camp line had been.
The President was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets, Presidential Adviser Andrei Fursenko, and Head of the Republic of Crimea Sergei Aksenov.