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Mega-Sporting Events from the Perspective of Russian Cultural Policy in the 21st Century

Song Jung Soo 1

1중앙대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The strategy of "soft power" in the foreign and internal policies of modern Russia is one of the important factors in the implementation of public policies, and the influence of soft power is increasingly becoming stronger and gaining new forms and methods of implementation. The Russian government exerts efforts to form a positive image of Russia in the international arena, in order to strengthen the country's competitiveness, based on active use of "soft power." Currently, Russian cultural policy is developing in two main directions. In the internal policy sphere, the Russian government emphasizes national unity and civic solidarity, and fosters a sense of patriotism and national pride. In the sphere of foreign policy, the Russian government is attempting to regain its status as a great power and to create a new image of Russia that is different from that of the former Soviet Russia. In this article, we examine and analyze various aspects of the hidden political mechanisms involved in mega-sporting events, in particular the Sochi Olympics, from the viewpoint of Russian internal and foreign policy. We address the major functions of mega-sporting events and their influence in the political realm. The political impact of mega-sports projects can even compensate for economic losses incurred during the preparation and hosting of the Olympic games. In this respect, we can define mega-sporting events as one of the main components of soft power; such events reflect the basic directions of internal and foreign policy in post-Soviet Russia, which are to form and promote an image of Russia using national branding. In order to fairly and objectively analyze the recognition and perception held by Russians of the significance of mega-sporting events, in this work, we carefully studied the results of various surveys conducted by the Russian research organization VCIOM (Russian Public Opinion Research Center) before and after Russia hosted the Winter Olympic games in Sochi (2014) and the Summer Olympic games in Kazan (2013). Furthermore, on the basis of the ranking of national brands by Simon Anholt (Anholt Nation Brands Index - NBI), and on the basis of the ranking of 100 national brands conducted by the British consulting company "Brand Finance" (Brand Finance Nation Brands 100), we minutely trace the development and qualitative change in Russia's image and the role of the mega-sporting projects. This article also examines the Kremlin's internal and foreign policies that were successfully carried out in practical terms. This study contributes to the understanding of the value of mega-sporting events from the point of view of cultural policy of the current ruling party of Russia. This standpoint allows us to outline the main directions of Russian cultural policy and to suggest perspectives on the branding strategy of modern Russia, including strategies related to consolidating Russia's position in the international arena.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.