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Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
The reorienting of Russian regionalism towards economic and socio-cultural competition between territories has made it relevant for them to have branding strategies. Saturating regions with various socio-political, economic, sporting and cultural events has become a key component of these strategies. This article analyzes the senses and meanings which they promote, representing one of Russia’s most active republics in this regard, the leading region in terms of implementing large-scale projects – the Republic of Tatarstan. Analysis of the international events held in this region from 2013 to 2019 revealed that the political senses which serve to establish the region’s status within the Russian nation are gradually fading into the background, with emphasis shifting towards integration. At the same time ideas are starting to emerge of the republic being an advanced, rapidly developing region, a center for modern technology and a Russian leader in terms of implementing innovative projects. Tatarstan also claims to be an intermediary in establishing partnership between the Russian Federation and nations of the Turkic and Islamic worlds. In turn, large-scale sporting events present the republic’s central city as Russia’s sporting capital, which facilitates the creation of a positive image for this region around the world while sustaining the international community’s interest. The senses produced by local cultural events help in building an ethno-confessional image for the republic, which is primarily built around the notion of a poly-ethnic and poly-confessional region which especially emphasizes parity of Tatar and Russian culture, Islam and Orthodoxy. The “center for the development of Tatar culture” formula, put forward in the 1990’s, also remains valid, with the region being a point towards which all Tatars gravitate, which allows for preserving their ethnic identity on the one hand, and articulating the region’s ethno-cultural distinctiveness – it being the foundation for developing its cultural economy – on the other. Analysis revealed that the elites conduct “strategies of inclusion” of various socio-cultural groups into the republican capital’s cultural life, as well as regional and urban activists into discussing and implementing plans for territorial development.
image of the region, political, sports, cultural events, territory branding, elites, Tatarstan
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