The impact of Olympic winter games in Sochi on the development of state identity of the Russian youth: evidence from empirical study




social identity, state identity, young people, government, information and communication interaction, internet-based communication


World-class sporting events are one of the most significant macro-markers of identity. They reflect the cognitive, emotional, normative value and behavioral aspects of the interactions between the state and the individual. The following article describes the Russian young people’s state identity in the context of Olympic Winter Games 2014 in Sochi. Using survey and focus-group methods we tried to understand if the official channels of information are relevant to that uses youth and if it is true that “sport as a celebration” unites the individual and the state. The results of the study are the following. (1) The behavioral and emotional elements of the state identity of young Russians demonstrate a strong dependence. However, a positive attitude to the Olympic Games as a special “public-and-private” celebration is formed mainly within small social groups, first of all in the family. News reports in the media, and discussions in official press do not make any difference for the young people. (2) The knowledge of any facts concerning Olympics does not lead to positive emotional, as well as to changes in behavior. Distrust to official sources of information and the desire to “search for truth” in Internet sources increase communicative gap between the government and the youth. (3) The assessment of around-olympic events has been developed through the “Russia is unique” formula. Here, this popular attitude was manifested in the inability to bring the business to a successful end, the inevitability of serious problems in a negative comparison with other (primarily Western) countries. This indicates the dominance of negative identity among Russian youth