Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Are Athletics the Key to Expressing Structural Integrity?

Russian news has ravaged headlines in the West due to Ukrainian unrest and rioting in the caucuses, not to mention the powder keg of social justice due to laws about homosexuality.  

However, there's another element of Russian news which has been sneaking its way into the minds and homes of the rest of the world - the prevalence of world sporting events being held in Russia. In just a few days, the Winter Olympics are going to kick off in Sochi. Just a few short months ago, the World Track and Field Championships were held in Moscow. And now the announcement has been confirmed that the Russian government is putting money into their national arena in order to prepare for the most watched sporting event in the world - the FIFA World Cup 2018. 

Marat Khusnullin, Moscow Deputy Mayor for Urban Development and Construction, said that Russia had learned valuable lessons from Brazil, especially when it came to dealing with the demands of world soccer body FIFA. 

“FIFA finally agreed to allow the Moscow government to reduce the seating capacity of Luzhniki Stadium to 81,000 seats following the unrest in Brazil,” he said. 

“I should thank Brazil for that,” he added with a laugh.

So, how does hosting all of these international sporting events help the Russian political face? Well, it all depend son how the events themselves end up going. The Athletics World Championships were pulled off quite well and the Russian economy was not left reeling like some hosts before them. However, the real test will come in Sochi and the World Cup. If the government can pull off these two events with the eyes of the world upon, the stigma of past country's failures fresh in our minds and the current turmoil surrounding the Russian government at its current gravity, then Russia will have officially established that even in a post Soviet world they are still a superpower with the infrastructural integrity to bear the weight of the world's expectations on their shoulders. 

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