Russia was formed in 1992 from the former Soviet Union. The last mega event hosted before the dissolution of the Soviet Union was the partly boycotted Moscow Olympic Summer Games in 1980. With the breakaway of many now-independent countries such as Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan and Georgia, Russia lost many of its winter sports hubs and training centres. President Vladimir Putin, being a passionate skier and sportsman himself, has put a strong emphasis on developing Russia into a leading sports nation. The first strategic goal was to create and develop a prime international winter sports destination and training centre in Sochi and the nearby Krasnaya Polyana Mountain range. Sochi won the right to host the Olympic Winter Games in 2014, and thus created infrastructure for ice and snow sports events in all disciplines. While an estimated amount of more than €30 billion was apparently spent in order to create the sports, hotel and transport infrastructure, other regions of Russia were soon demanding part of the sports event business market. In its first bid for the particular event, defeating countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands, England, Portugal and Spain, Russia won the right to host the FIFA Football World Cup in 2018. The intra Russian competition to host matches was large as Russia will invest massively in its railway and road infrastructure connecting the host cities. Having secured those two mega events, Russia has meanwhile attracted the annual Formula 1 Grand Prix to Sochi, as well as the leading world sports congress to St Petersburg, amongst other major events including the FINA World Swimming Championships and the IAAF World Athletics Championships.

1 What were the reasons to host major sports events in Russia?

2 What will be the legacy of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games?

3 Which other events would suit Russia’s event strategy?