By Duncan Mackay in Moscow

Vladimir Putin_at_ANOC_meeting_April_13_2012April 13 - Vladimir Putin today admitted that Russia bids for so many top sports events because it helps develop the infrastructure of the country.

Britain, which is hosting London 2012 and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, has already christened the next few years as the "Decade of Sport".

But its portfolio of events barely compares to Russia.

Besides the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi and the 2018 FIFA World Cup, other major events they are also staging include the World Athletics Championships and 27th Summer Universiade next year, the 2015 World Aquatics Championships and the 2016 World Ice Hockey Championships.

"We're using all the possible resources we have to prepare for major events," Russia's President-elect told the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) General Assembly here.

"We do this to help further develop the Federation of Russian States."

Putin claimed that Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, 500 miles east of the Russian capital, has benefitted more than any other city from Russia's seemingly insatiable appetite for major events.

Kazan 2013_dancers
They are hosting the Summer Universiade and the World Aquatics Championships.

They are also expected to be a leading venue for matches during the 2018 World Cup.

"In my opinion, Kazan has been changed beyond recognition by hosting the Universiade," said Putin.

"We have new stadiums, new swimming pools, new infrastructure.

"Some of the citizens there must only have seen such facilities before in the movies."

But Putin claimed that the whole of Russia, the world's biggest country, covering a total area is more than 17 million square kilometres, would benefit from hosting major events.

"All these facilities will be used by Russians for decades to come," he told the audience.

But Putin, who is still officially the Prime Minister but will return to being President next month, also claimed that hosting major events helped Russia's foreign policy.

"There is no tool better to develop relationships with other countries than hosting major events," he said.

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