July 19 - Russia's State Duma has adopted several amendments to the existing law directed at enhancing the efficiency of the preparations for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics Games, particularly to help encourage volunteering.

The Duma have formalised the "Games volunteer" concept into law, which was originally initiated by the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee and allows them to regulate administrative questions related to the work of volunteers.

The revision will bring a number of benefits, including helping regulate the administration of volunteering at major international events, simple entry and exit procedures for foreign volunteers traveling to Russia and ensuring volunteers’ benefits in kind will be exempt from tax.

Dmitry Chernyshenko, the President and chief executive of Sochi 2014, said: "Recognising Games volunteers in Russian law is a highly significant development in our preparations for the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. 

"Our volunteers will be crucial to the success of the Games, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere in Sochi and enthusiastically promoting Russia and the Games to visitors from all around the world.

"We aim to use the Games to encourage volunteerism across Russia and help establish a volunteering tradition in the country which will last for many years to come."

One of the key priorities for Sochi 2014 is to revive the volunteering movement in Russia and prepare all of the volunteers for the Games.

The volunteers will play a major role in creating a unique atmosphere for the Games as they are the first people to meet guests and participants and assist them with all their needs, Chernyshenko said.

These volunteers will act as the"face" of the Sochi 2014.

As a direct result of Sochi 2014 volunteering in Russia is becoming increasingly popular.

The Sochi 2014 volunteering team took part in the Winter Games in Vancouver, helping to organise several international events, including the official International Olympic Committee Vancouver debriefing in Sochi. 

In addition, volunteers have enthusiastically been taking part in other Organising Committee initiatives, particularly ecological events.