Display window or tripwire? : the Sochi winter games, the Russian great power ideal and the legitimacy of Vladimir Putin

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Display window or tripwire? : the Sochi winter games, the Russian great power ideal and the legitimacy of Vladimir Putin

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Publication Article, other scientific
Title Display window or tripwire? : the Sochi winter games, the Russian great power ideal and the legitimacy of Vladimir Putin
Author(s) Petersson, Bo ; Vamling, Karina
Date 2013
English abstract
President Vladimir Putin’s claim and policies to resurrect Russia as a great power have been a cornerstone for the construction of the hegemonic position of power that he has for so long successfully exerted and upheld. This paper discusses the Russian great power ambitions in relation to national identity and popular appeal, and puts them in relation to the upcoming Winter Games in Sochi in 2014. The paper examines how this mega-event is discursively constructed as a manifestation of Russia’s return to great power status, and as such is meant to convey certain messages internally as well as externally. The successful carrying out of the Games would no doubt constitute an important component in the undergirding of the – otherwise visibly dwindling - legitimacy of President Putin. They would be an important display window for manifesting the prowess of the Russian great power, and the location of the Games to the Caucasian city of Sochi in the Russian South would have a deeply symbolical aspect. If the Games can be successfully carried out in a region that has for so long been experienced as volatile and unruly, then it must surely mean that internal order has been restored in the Russian great power. However, it is argued in the article that there are several potential tripwires on the way towards achieving these symbolically important goals. Problems of security, terrorism, geopolitical volatility, large-scale corruption and inter-ethnic tension loom large, and may all turn out to be formidable obstacles and render the hosting of the Games a counter-productive enterprise. The paper puts official discourse (as in official speeches, media interviews, et cetera) in relation to scholarly analyses of the problems and potentialities of the Sochi Olympics, all in the general framework of Russia’s self-image and identity as a great power.
Link http://www.gce.unisg.ch/en/Euxeinos/CurrentIssueEuxeinos (external link to publication)
Publisher Center for Governance and Culture in Europe, University of S:t Gallen
Host/Issue Euxeinos;12
ISSN 2296-0708
Pages 6-14
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) Sochi Olympics
Russia
Putin
great power
legitimacy
security
inter-ethnic relations
Caucasus
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH AREAS
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/16256 (link to this page)

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