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08 June 2010 @ 10:00 am
Vaitsekhovskaya on Russian FS Presidential "elections"  


Yesterday, a new president was chosen for Federation of Figure Skating of Russia (FFSR). The post will be occupied by the chairman of the ISU technical committee for ice dancing, a director of international relations of the Russian Olympic committee, Olympic champion in figure skating Alexander Gorshkov. Simultaneously, General Director for RFSF was voted in. This seat, new in RFSF structure, will be occupied by the veteran federation president Valentine Piseev.



from Novogorsk

The voting for the top position started with a withdrawal of the chairman of National Russian Duma’s committee of physical education and sport, an Olympic figure skating champion Anton Sikhuralidze. Just a few minutes after the press was asked to leave the conference room, Sikhuralidze came out to speak to the journalists.

“Unfortunately, we only saw the new rules this morning,” he began. “The new rules spell out the federation president’s powers, and, to my great surprise, they are of nothing more than a figurehead. While my goal was to develop the federation, the new rules do not grant such powers to the president. I am a young, energetic and fairly busy man. I don’t have time to carry around the briefcase for the general director. This is why I had to withdraw from this race.”

Following Sikhuralidze, ice dancing champion Oksana Gritschuk fell out of the race. To begin with, the skater was told she only had two minutes to spell out her program. When she went passed this time, she started being “applauded away” (which was erroneously taken by Oksana as a sign of general interest and support). After she stopped speaking, she was informed that she had no right to run for the seat being a private individual.

Correspondingly, Gorshkov was left a sole candidate, voted in unanimously by all 66 members. After that, all of them with one exception voted to make Piseev the general director (essentially, the top person of FFSR). In a word, it all happened exactly as was predicted backstage. All that’s left is bitterness over the lack of abilities of those who seriously wanted to challenge the “old guard”.

Actually, the crashing defeat of Russian Olympians in Vancouver and the subsequent sorting out by the top people of the nation was for the best – it made many people associated with the sport start moving. In that sense, Piseev keeping his powers is not a tragedy or even stagnation = today, FFSR general director is more interested than anyone in making sure rinks are being built, coaches get all the support they need, and skaters regain their former victorious positions.

Tatiana Tarasova is right in pointing out that federation, headed by Piseev, has finally in the last few months, without any ado, gotten around to making many targeted and very necessary decisions. In particular, this is true about creation of new teams.

The conference also talked about some changes that have already been made in the federal program of sport development. For example, over the next two years new rinks should be built in Perm and Samara; those cities regularly supply the national team with skaters, but have absolutely atrocious working conditions.

Selection of Gorshkov for the top post of FFSR led to a minor problem – as a president of a national federation, he has to vacate his post of the chairman of the ISU technical committee of ice dancing. It’s not legitimate, though, to consider this a real problem, as FFSR plans (as was found out way before yesterday) to nominate to Gorshkov’s former post the most knowledgeable, powerful and respected of Russian judges – Alla Shekhovtseva, Piseev’s spouse. In addition to the aforementioned qualities, Shekhovtseva has a good command of English language, and her opinion is deferred to at the elite level.

In short, there was no point in barring the journalists from the final and most important part of the conference. We would’ve even applauded.