Politics, sports, and national identity are inexplicably intertwined, especially in the Soviet and Post-Soviet space. Dominance in sports serves to enhance the prestige of the country, to emphasize its strength, and to bolster national pride among its citizens. In a sense, athletic achievements are a proxy for political potency, and stadiums are surrogate ideological battlefields. But political quibbles aside, the Soviet Union exerted some positive influence over the development of sports in the world. Some researchers contend that it contributed to the gender parity on the international athletic arena:

One of the things about having success across the board meant not only success in all sports but success for men and women as well, and the great successes that the Soviets had in women’s sport posed a challenge for the rest of the world […]. [T]he vast explosion of women’s sports that we see in the West today could probably never have occurred without the example of Soviet sport. (PBS interview with Robert Edelman)

So, here we go. Click around to be regaled or come to the library to check out some of the available titles.

1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow

Universiade Kazan 2013

In July 2013, the Summer Universiade was held in Kazan. The event featured over 10,400 university athletes from over 162 countries.

2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi

Krasnoyarsk 2019 29th Winter Universiade

2013 World Championship in athletics Moscow

Team Russia counted a number of expats among its athletes. Viktor An, born in South Korea, won 3 gold and 1 bronze medal in short track for Russia.
New York Times, Rejecting the US to skate for Russia

2018 Russia Fifa World Cup

Russia hosted the 2018 World Cup in 11 different cities. It was the first to be played on two continents.

The race to win the 2018 bid was not without controversy. There are allegations that Russia and Qatar (the host of the 2022 World Cup) engaged in a vote-swapping act. Details here.

The architects of the Soviet Union intended not merely to remake their society – they also had an ambitious plan to remake the citizenry physically, with the goal of perfecting the socialist ideal of man. As Euphoria and Exhaustion shows, the Soviet leadership used sport as one of the primary arenas in which to deploy and test their efforts to mechanize and perfect the human body, drawing on knowledge from physiology, biology, medicine, and hygiene. At the same time, however, such efforts, like any form of social control, could easily lead to discontent – and thus, the editors show, a study of changes in public attitude towards sport can offer insight into overall levels of integration, dissatisfaction, and social exhaustion in the Soviet Union. (Publisher’s description)

The role and development of sport in Soviet society received little contemporary attention, in the West or in Russia. Although it was widely banned after the Russian Revolution, and viewed as a tool developed by the bourgeoisie for the training of body and mind during the rise of capitalism, the USSR was among the world’s sporting powers. This 1977 book examines the evolution of sport in Russia from its early association with health and hygiene, through a period of functional association with labour and defence, to its post-war importance as a means of enhancing the prestige of Soviet communism abroad. The historical role of Soviet sport is followed from the considerable part that sport played during the period of rapid industrialisation, through its strange fate during the years of mass repression, to its emergence as a major institution after the Second World War.(Source)

Политизация большого спорта – вещь общеизвестная. В самый разгар Холодной войны, когда многие, следуя призыву Стэнли Кубрика, уже были готовы расслабиться и полюбить Бомбу, президент США Джон Кеннеди назвал два новых важнейших поля битвы между двумя системами: космос и Олимпийские игры. И если в Советском Союзе ещё могли согласиться с политической составляющей космической гонки, то спорт всегда объявлялся «вне политики». Между тем, по мнению Михаила Прозуменщикова, автора книги «Большой спорт и большая политика», именно  «в СССР зависимость спорта от политики была доведена до совершенства». (Source)

В монографии на большом историческом и современном фактологическом материале рассмотрены политические проблемы организации и проведения сочинской зимней Олимпиады 2014 года. События последних десятилетий в России, на Кавказе и в глобальной системе политических отношений объективно поставили сочинскую Олимпиаду в фокус геополитических интересов. Немало усилий и ресурсов потрачено на срыв проведения Олимпиады, превращение ее в повод для усиления международной напряженности на Кавказе, умаления и подрыва авторитета России на международной арене. Автор детально анализирует исторические предпосылки активации антироссийских сил в регионе, их генезис и трансформацию в современных условиях глобального мира. Для исследователей, преподавателей, студентов и широкого круга читателей, интересующихся историческими и политическими аспектами отношений на Кавказе, для специалистов, соответствующих министерств и ведомств, кто по долгу службы обязан обеспечить безопасность подготовки и проведения зимней Олимпиады 2014 года, а также для всех тех, кто отвечает за безопасность России, в особенности на кавказском направлении. (Source)

Эта книга посвящена памяти блестящего тренера и педагога Ларисы Дмитриевны Преображенской, которая не только привила сотням своих учеников любовь к теннису, но и передала основы своего понимания жизни, в котором преданность выбранному делу, высокий профессионализм, а также порядочность и честность стояли на первом месте.

National Identity and Global Sports Events looks at the significance of international sporting events and why they generate enormous audiences worldwide. Focusing on the Olympic Games and the men’s football (soccer) World Cup, the contributors examine the political, cultural, economic, and ideological influences that frame these events. Selected case studies include the 1936 Nazi Olympics in Berlin, the 1934 World Cup Finals in Italy, the unique case of the 1972 Munich Games, the transformative 1984 Games in Los Angeles, and the 2002 Asian World Cup Finals, among others. The case studies show how the Olympics and the World Cup Finals provide a basis for the articulation of entrenched and dominant political ideologies, encourage persisting senses of national identity, and act as barometers for the changing ideological climate of the modern and increasingly globalized contemporary world. Through rigorous scholarly analyses, the book’s contributors help to illuminate the increasing significance of large-scale sporting events on the international stage. (Source)