WiP: Sport and Ideology in Authoritarian Regimes. The Case of Asiada-2017 in Ashgabat | October 11, 18:30, CRRC-Georgia Office

Sport is one of the most important aspects of the presentation of authoritarian regimes. Particularly, through organizing spectacular sporting events, authoritarian regimes seek self legitimisation and confirmation of their status, both internally and externally. Turkmenistan is an excellent example of this phenomenon. This relatively rigid and strong authoritarian regime has recently organised the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat. Although the event had rather secondary significance even within the Asian Olympic movement, official Ashgabat promoted it as crucial 2017 Asian sporting event. The PR campaign covered internal propaganda of healthy life in Turkmenistan, the care of the president about sport and the athletic system in the country, as well as the construction of a spectacular Olympic city and an airport specially designed for the games. The other side of the coin includes the negative effects on the daily life of many people from Ashgabat and other regions. The event itself became an apogee of the Turkmenistan regime’s ideological presentation, including a significant impact on the life of a large part of Turkmen society.

Slavomír Horák holds the position of the Assistant Professor at the Department of Russian and East European Studies of the Institute of Area Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, of Charles University in Prague. His research and teaching practise covers political, social and economic issues in the former USSR, with a focus on Central Asia. He widely publishes in particular on Turkmenistan’s domestic issues, especially informal politics and state and nation-building. His bibliography includes several books on Central Asian and Afghanistan internal development as well as numerous articles published in Czech, Russian and English scholarly journals and books.