Russia – sporting nation: history and modernity

Dr. Hab., Professor N.V. Parshikova1
Dr. Hab. S.I. Izaak2
G.V. Kovalenko3
1Russian Ministry of Sports, Moscow
2Russian University of Transport (MIIT), Moscow
3Kazakh National Academy of Arts n.a. T.K. Zhurgenov, Alma-Ata, Republic of Kazakhstan

Keywords: sports, image, Forum, sporting nation, communication domain, digitalized service, international cooperation.

Background. Since the open confrontation of the global superpowers came to an end, the power struggle on the global arenas has been going in a variety of covert forms. In the global sports sector, the superpowers continued their competition increasingly making resort to the modern ‘soft power’ tools on the one hand and taking efforts to increase competitiveness of the national sports to secure leadership on the global arenas on the other hand. Presently Russia is ranked number one nation by the Global Sports Nations Index – that is computed with account of the top-ranking (and national image-making) sport events hosted by every nation.

Many debatable strategic planning, programming and tactical issues critical for progress of the physical education and sports sector have been discussed by a wide variety of meetings, conferences, forums etc. [1, 6]. The International Sports ‘Russia – Sporting Nation’ Forum run since 2009 is now ranked among the top discussion platforms [7] as it has made an impressive progress for the decade to win the trust and recognition of the physical education and sport sector professionals and high reputation in the country and abroad. The 10-year anniversary may be the right time to analyze the positive and negative experiences and give a new impetus to the project in the new situation.

Objective of the study was to analyze the progress and image-building aspects of the ‘Russia – Sporting Nation’ Forum in the context of the national physical education and sports sector development agenda.

Results and discussion. Efforts to create and promote a positive national/ regional image give a special priority to the top-ranking international sporting events and the relevant research initiatives including conferences, forums etc. [4] based on the assumption that a national success is contributed by the political, socio-economic, cultural successes and, the last but not least, competitive successes in the major international sport events and their hosting projects and services [2].

The ‘Russia – Sporting Nation’ Forum was established as one of the above image-building sporting initiatives by Presidential Decree No. 863 of July 27, 2009 (for the first time in the national physical education and sport sector history) [8]. As provided by the relevant legal documents, the ‘Russia – Sporting Nation’ Forum (hereinafter referred to as the Forum) is summoned on an annual basis for the physical education and sport sector development, international cooperation in physical education and sport domain and healthy lifestyle advancement goals – see the Presidential Decrees No. 374 of March 26, 2010, No. 1650 of 13.12. 2012 and No. 221 of May 13, 2019.

The ‘Russia – Sporting Nation’ Forum events and discussion platforms were hosted by the following cities for the period: Kazan, the Republic of Tatarstan (October 22–25, 2009); Moscow (July 29 - August 1, 2010); Saransk, Republic of Mordovia (September 8–11, 2011); Yakutsk, Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) (July 4–5, 2012); Cheboksary, Chuvash Republic (October 9–11, 2014); Dobrograd resort in Kovrov city, Vladimir Oblast (October 10–13, 2016); and Ulyanovsk (October 10–12, 2018) [3]. The upcoming 2019 ‘Russia – Sporting Nation’ Forum will be hosted by Nizhny Novgorod with its vast physical education and sport infrastructure developed for the 2018 sport events and now used for the image-building and sporting projects. Success of the Forum is verified by a few indicators including the popularity and national representation indices and the citation rates provided, among others, by the Russian Science Citation Index (RSCI) system. Let us consider hereunder the key aspects of the ‘Russia – Sporting Nation’ Forum that make it so different from the alike initiatives in the national physical education and sport sector and even in other sectors.

1. Legal aspects since the ‘Russia – Sporting Nation’ Forum was established by the above Presidential Decrees and supported by the relevant supplementary provisions including the Ministry of Sports orders, regulations of the relevant host governments and the other legal and regulatory provisions.

2. Integrated design and practical outreach, since the Forum has always been supported and facilitated by the visiting meetings of the Presidential Council for the Physical Education and Sport Development, plenary meetings, seminars, round tables, exhibitions, master classes, protocol events, international and national official sports events, festivals and other projects, with the participants always enthusiastically visiting the local sports facilities and the cultural, entertainment and historical sites and attractions in the host cities.

Goals of the Forum and the relevant top priorities have been revised for the decade as dictated by the national physical education and sport sector development policies and experiences and the national policies detailed in the President Office recommendations and instructions. Priorities and practices of the Forum have been updated to facilitate a few innovative initiatives and discussions of the top priority topics – including the national elite sports, their accomplishments and future prospects; mass sports; sport reserve training services; physical education and sport advancement strategies and practical programs etc. The key ongoing discussion sessions of the Forum often joined by senior government officials and addressed by the meetings of the Presidential Council for the Physical Education and Sport Development and national workshops and meetings have made a few highly important policy-setting/ management decisions that proved productive in the practical terms.

The above governmental supervision and support policies have helped make the Forum highly relevant and effective for the national physical education and sport sector progress. As a result, the Forum has evolved into a highly reputable discussion platform for the physical education and sport sector policy making by the relevant federal, regional and municipal agencies and interests and for the other relevant image-building projects including the Olympic and Paralympic Games, University Games and the FIFA World Cup hosting projects; GTO Complex implementation project and other initiatives. It is also important that the host regions have benefited from the Forum events in their sporting, historical and cultural values and heritage promotion aspects.

3. Representation scale of the Forum has vastly expanded for the decade, and the progress demonstrates that the physical education and sport development agenda (particularly in its public health, mass sports, competitive progress and international competitiveness advancement aspects) has been supported by every population group irrespective of national identities, political predispositions, ages, education levels and sporting experiences. The last events of the Forum were visited by 23 thousand people including the President and top government officers; federal, regional legislative and executive government officers, local government officers; and leaders of the relevant international and national educational, scientific, commercial and public groups and organizations.

4. Communication aspect of the Forum is no less important as its communication strategies are geared to facilitate cooperation of the relevant federal, regional and local executive government agencies hosting the Forum events; with special contributions from the relevant professional organizations, sporting communities, business interests (including the business sponsors and partners) for progress and success of the event and national physical education and sport sector on the whole. The Forum-promotion communication campaigns have resulted in many contracts and agreements.

5. Digitalization aspect of the Forum cannot be underestimated as the modern digital systems (DS) as a part of the global information space set new provisions for the sport event hosting and management in the theoretical and practical domains. The Forum events have been facilitated by the optimized information flow management services using the Big Data, Internet applications and live Web-broadcasting technologies. Digital services of the Forum events are freely available in the Internet and covered by the relevant science metrics including the Russian Science Citation Index (RSCI) service.

6. International cooperation aspect is viewed as increasingly relevant as the Forum contributes to the modern international sports as an increasingly important part of the international relationships and a unification factor for the global sport communities [5]. The international cooperation domain of the Forum has been advanced by the modern discussion platforms encouraging broad international connections and growing foreign participation beneficial for the initiatives to advance the international negotiations and optimize the relevant international protocols.

Conclusion. Historically, Russia as a sporting nation has been on the rise for the last decade as manifested by the competitive accomplishments in the top-ranking international events and the national policies to support the large-scale popular sport projects of special importance for the national image and progress. Thus the international ‘Russia – Sporting Nation’ Forum established by a Presidential Decree is ranked high among such popular projects. The ‘Russia – Sporting Nation’ Forum with its practice-centered, research and management aspects have become for many foreign and thousands of Russian experts an important and traditional discussion platform for the professional growth, productive contacts, solutions, policy development and management decision making.

The Forum needs to be further promoted in every of the above mentioned aspects i.e. the legal, integration, practical outreach, representation, communication, cultural, digitalization and international cooperation aspects, with a special encouragement for partnerships and sponsorship initiatives and due coverage of the events, particularly by the relevant research publications. The anniversary of the Forum demonstrates the high success of the event in its core mission that is to secure progress of the Russian Physical Education and Sport sector.

References

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Abstract

Since the open confrontation of the global superpowers came to an end, the power struggle on the global arenas has been going in a variety of covert forms. In the global sports sector, the superpowers continued their competition increasingly making resort to the modern ‘soft power’ tools on the one hand and taking efforts to increase competitiveness of the national sports to secure leadership on the global arenas on the other hand. Presently Russia is ranked number one nation by the Global Sports Nations Index – that is computed with account of the top-ranking (and national image-making) sport events hosted by every nation. It should be mentioned that Russia as a sporting nation has been on the rise for the last decade as manifested by the competitive accomplishments in the top-ranking international events and the national policies to support the large-scale popular sport projects of importance for the national image. Thus the ‘Russia – Sporting Nation’ Forum endorsed by Presidential Decree #863 of 27.07.2009 is ranked among such popular projects. The study analyzes progress of the ‘Russia – Sporting Nation’ Forum in the context of the national sports industry development process and emphasizes the key provisions that make it different from the alike projects in the national sport industry – including its sound regulatory framework; impressive scale of the event, its ideas and services, popularity and participation; communication service; digitalized service facilities and the international support and cooperation; and offers recommendations on how the Forum design, management and operations can be improved.