Positive patriotism in Russia due to the 2018 FIFA World Cup?

Session of the working group “Laboratory of the Future” within the framework of the Petersburg Dialogue

26/09/2011 | 09:00 - 18:00 | | Invitation only

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Will the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia have a positive effect on the development of national self-consciousness as the World Cup in Germany did in 2006? Will investment in infrastructure contribute to the sustainable development of affected regions in Russia?

These and other questions regarding the 2018 FIFA World Cup were discussed during the 23rd session of the working group “Laboratory of the Future of German-Russian relations” that was held in accordance with the 11th Petersburg Dialogue on July 17-19, 2011 in Wolfsburg.

The World Cup in Russia could be the first event after the dissolution of the Soviet Union that will make Russians feel proud. It could provide Russia with development stimulus, said Ilya Ponomarev, a member of the Duma from the “Fair Russia” faction. But this will only be the case if economic and social challenges such as corruption, dilapidated infrastructure, latent nationalistic tendencies, and the gap between the rich and the poor are overcome. Otherwise, the World Cup will be perceived by Russian society as an elite project at best that is to be punished with disregard or, at worst, with riots.

The First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Viktor Zubkov, who also attended the session, agreed that there was a great need for action before the World Cup begins. Moreover, he considers the World Cup as primarily an opportunity to provide incentives for professional sports and sport for the masses, to modernize the infrastructure, and to draw attention to all regions in Russia.

Zubkov welcomed German MP Franz Thönnes’ proposal regarding the consultation of Russian authorities on preventing possible riots from violent football fans.

“Laboratory of the Future of German-Russian relations” is a working group that regularly meets within the framework of the Petersburg Dialogue. It consists of equal numbers of Germans and Russians, mostly young politicians, experts, and journalists, and takes place alternately in Russia and Germany.

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