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Hosting Olympic Games as a Source of Legitimization for Non-democratic Regimes in Eurasia

Student: Antoine karl Hamel

Supervisor: Irina Busygina

Faculty: Saint-Petersburg School of Social Sciences and Area Studies

Educational Programme: Comparative Politics of Eurasia (Master)

Year of Graduation: 2021

The Olympic Games are an international sporting event, also called a sport mega event because of its influence and the necessary resources for its smooth running. It was with the emergence of the media that the global enthusiasm for the Olympics began to emerge. At the origin of the Olympic movement, the Olympics were traditionally awarded to developed and prosperous nations. Despite studies which tend to show that the Games are a considerable financial loss, we can see that since the second half of the 20th century, more and more developing and not necessarily democratic States have obtained the status of host for the Games. While the benefits of hosting such an event do not lie in the economic aspect, the quest for legitimacy, which regimes in these countries lack, seems to be the motivating factor. The aim of this research is to analyze the effects of hosting the Olympic Games on the national legitimacy (via institutional and economic parameters) and international legitimacy (via parameters of prestige and attraction) of the host country. The results show that hosting the Olympics has no effect on the legitimacy of a non-democratic regime, whether nationally or internationally. In fact, while games help shed light on internal problems, they don't seem to help solve them. Finally, the Olympic Games take place in international contexts over which they have little influence (collapses, democratizations, growth, globalization etc.).

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