'This Week' Transcript: Russian President Vladimir Putin

PUTIN (through translator): We have adequate needs available to us through the federal security service, the interior ministry, armed forces units that will be involved in providing security on the water and in the air. If necessary, all those tools will be activated.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Will all this security kill the joy, turning Sochi into what one critic called the "Gulag Olympics."

PUTIN (through translator): We would try and make sure that security measures don't jump at you, are not in your face, do not put pressure on the athletes and visitors or reporters.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Putin is also pitching here for better ties to the U.S., relations strained by a series of confrontations, including that granted asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

So what do you say to Americans who see Russia and you not only as a rival, but an unfriendly adversary?

PUTIN (through translator): Between major countries, there are certainly always are some common ground and points of tension. With respect to athletes, I'd recommend and advise them not to think about the political differences. Politics should not interfere with sports. And sports should impact politics.

STEPHANOPOULOS: With the most famous American in Russia right now is Edward Snowden. Is he invited to Sochi?

PUTIN (through translator): The most renowned American is Russia now is Barack Obama. Everybody is invited. Mr. Snowden is subject to the treatment of provisional asylum here in Russia. He has a right to travel freely across the country. He has no special limitation. He can just buy a ticket and come here.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And stay as long as he wants?

PUTIN (through translator): Yes, sure, definitely.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Whoever comes to Sochi will find a city still under construction, and it is costing a fortune.

Lots of questions also here about corruptions and the unbelievable cost. These Olympics are going to cost far and away more than any other ever.

STEVEN MEYERS (The New York Times): Well, one official estimate was that it would be $51 billion. A lot of people say it's in fact gone up since then, so it could even be higher.

I mean, the fact is we don't really know the exact number.

STEPHANOPOULOS: More than $8 billion for just one road, eclipsing the entire cost of the last Winter Olympics.

Organizers are even spending on extra snow, insurance against Sochi's sub-tropical climate.

STEVEN MEYERS (The New York Times): Putin himself said I guarantee here will be snow.


STEVEN MEYERS (The New York Times): So they built a snow guarantee system, which is pretty routine at most ski resorts, but the ones here are about the most expensive anywhere in the world.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Critics say that extravagant spending is triggering excessive corruption.

A Swiss member of the International Olympic Committee has said that the corruption problem has actually been massive. He said it's an every day matter up to $18 billion embezzled. Is he right? And what can be done about it?

PUTIN (through translator): No, not true. First of all, the Swiss man didn't say that. I do appreciate that it's reporter's job to always try and get sexy subjects to be talked about. Our law enforcement agencies have been working in this area. So far, we are not seeing any major large-scale manifestations of corruption as part of the implementation of the Sochi project.

STEPHANOPOULOS: These are Putin's games.

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