Russia plans to build five ski resorts in its North Caucasus region costing more than $15 billion, according to Russian news agency, RIA Novosti.

The ski resorts will be located in the republics of Kabardino-Balkaria, Adygea, Karachay-Cherkess, North Ossetia, and Dagestan.

The Russian government will own 98 percent of shares in the North Caucasus Resorts company, Russian state-run banks will be minority shareholders.

The North Caucasus has suffered from violence and corruption since the break up of the Soviet Union, but it is hoped the new ski resorts will significantly increase the flow of tourists to the region, improving the social and economic situation.

The Russian Black sea city of Sochi, with ski resort [R2631R, Krasnaya Polyana], is to host the 2014 Winter Olympics. The most expensive facilities in Winter Olympic history are under construction and the media spotlight will be on them for the next four years. Former President and now Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who has a holiday home in Sochi, has been deeply involved in this 10-billion-dollar Winter Olympics project.

Sochi has to start from scratch, beginning with a complete state-of-the-art sewerage system. As President Medvedev said at the beginning of the year, "The first task is the development of the city of Sochi, the creation of a modern, high-quality mountain climatic resort . . . Second we need to create a world-class sports infrastructure."

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