The Sports Culture of Moscow Through the Last Century: A Virtual Tour

Sports culture is fascinating. Few social mechanisms exist that resonate with people so powerfully as to unite or divide them; the test for such mechanisms is if they can generate massive groups in conflict. Nationalism, politics, and religion all tend to accomplish this rather well, and though it tends not to be as personal, sports can draw upon a similar sense of fanaticism with mighty societal repercussions. The Russian people have a particularly intriguing relationship with sports culture, for the past century – through the Soviet era and beyond it – has seen athletic events and principles purposed in numerously different ways. Sports were an intimate aspect of Soviet life, and by tracking how they were utilized to achieve political ends, what they represented in socioeconomic terms, and what they meant to the populace, a new perspective on Russian culture is achieved. Thus, to analyze the influence of sports in Russia, we look to the animate record of all Russian history and the heart of its culture: the city of Moscow. By exploring five distinct, athletic venues throughout the metropolis, the story of Russia will be strung together.


Brandon Buell