Russia’s Unique Soft Power Strategy
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Russia, like Brazil, also hosted two first-order sports mega-events in quick succession (2014 and 2018). Yet, a key reason for choosing Russia as an example of an ‘emerging state’ using sports mega-events is because, in general, the academic literature fails to recognise the variety of motives behind the hosting of such prestigious sporting spectacles. While it is relatively clear that the vast majority of states seek to use sports mega-events (SMEs) to ‘showcase’ their nation, others, Russia included, have a number of different motives behind hosting. As this chapter shows, Russia does not follow the logic of a standard SME host, but rather is pursuing a path of foreign policy in Russian interests and domestic soft power creation both to shore up the incumbent government’s political legitimacy and to engender and bolster a sense of Russian national identity. The result is that Russia—viewed through a Western lens—is ‘failing’ to capitalise on its soft power potential.
KeywordsUSSR and Russia Domestic soft power Dual soft power strategy
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