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Russia cuts 2014 Winter Olympics spending by $8.6 billion

MOSCOW, February 17 (RIA Novosti) - A governmental re-evaluation of the budget for Russia's 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics will allow expenditure to be cut by 300 billion rubles ($8.6 billion), a deputy prime minister said on Tuesday.

Dmitry Kozak said the 2008 re-evaluation "made it possible to save 300 billion rubles ($8.6 billion) of budget funds."

"We have fixed a 5% cut in the cost of these facilities in the budget," he said at a meeting with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Kozak added that the so-called Olympic heritage program which outlines possible uses for the facilities following the winter games has already been drafted and coordinated with all departments concerned.

The ideas include a sports training facility, including for the physically disabled, a children's aqua park and a multi-purpose sports center. All the proposals will be presented at a commercial real estate expo to be held in Cannes on March 10-13, he added.

Some 12,000 construction jobs will be created to build the Olympic facilities, the deputy premier said.

State investment in the Olympic construction has so far been properly allocated and no overspending has been reported, auditor Alexander Piskunov said.

"There have been no grounds to talk about overspending of state funds, nor has there been any to suggest that work or services already carried out has been ineffective," he said.

Piskunov pledged the basic budget for the Sochi Olympics would be drafted later this month.

"The basic budget will be drafted by the end of February, making things clear with construction timeframes, quantities and facilities," the auditor said.

Putin said earlier the Russian government channeled 113 billion rubles ($3.25 billion) into the Olympics project in 2008, and would invest a further 127 billion rubles ($3.65 billion) in 2009.

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