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Nordic Russian and Eastern European Studies Conference
Intentions, Interactions and Paradoxes in Post-Socialist Space
24-25 May 2013 in Helsinki, Finland


The Sochi Predicament: Contexts, Characteristics and Challenges of the Olympic Winter Games in 2014
Chair: Karina Vamling (Malmö University, Sweden)
Discussant: Katri Pynnöniemi (The Finnish Institute of International Affairs, Finland)
Bo Petersson (Malmö University,  Sweden): Flexing Muscles: The Sochi Winter Games and verbal manifestations of the Russian great power myth
Jakob Hedenskog (Swedish Defence Research Agency, Sweden): The Terror Threat against Sochi-2014
Alexandre Kukhianidze (Tbilisi State University, Georgia / Malmö University, Sweden): Security of the Winter Olympics in Sochi from a Georgian Perspective
Helena Rytövuori-Apunen (University of Tampere, Tampere Peace Research Institute, Finland): Disputed Frontiers: Abkhazia in Russia’s Sochi 2014 Project

For a variety of political, climatic, ecological, security-related and other reasons the Russian summer resort of Sochi by the Black Sea would seem a most unlikely candidate for Olympic Winter Games. Yet the Games will be arranged there in February 2014, and the Russian leaders regard the Games as a highly prestigious project underlining Russia’s return to great power status in the contemporary world. The panel discusses and examines how the impending mega event of the Olympic Winter Games is discursively constructed and acted upon in Russian politics. These two panels present selected chapters of a forthcoming volume, edited by Bo Petersson and Karina Vamling under the title of The Sochi Predicament: Contexts, Characteristics and Challenges of the Olympic Winter Games in 2014 (to be published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing, fall 2013). The book makes an insightful inventory of the problematic, discussing Russian, Georgian, Abkhazian and Circassian perspectives and making in-depth analyses of challenges related to identity, security, ethnic relations and the environment. It brings together an international group of scholars, representing different academic career stages and a number of supplementary disciplinary perspectives (political science, sports science, ethics, ethnology, and Caucasian studies).