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SPORTS AND COMPETITION, RECREATION            Out of a total dearth of activity prior to the  1950’s, these subjects must begin here.  The general  perception is that The USSR wanted to use success in  the Olympic games as a promotion of its image---good  sportsmen = good life.  To accomplish this, children  down to very young ages were tested and analyzed by  the State and then put into special development  programs.  Literally, regardless of age, sport became  work at these highest levels.  With a population base of  200 million or so, including many non-Russian  republics  to draw from , the program was a big  success through 1991.  People from all over the world  became accustomed to seeing athletes wearing CCCP.   In the West, there was joke about this standing for  Cabbage, Celery, Cauliflower, and Potatoes, but here is  the real meaning.  In Russian, the “C” has an “s”-like   sound, while the “P” has an “r”-like sound.  So it reads   Soyuz (Union)  Sovietsky (Soviet)  Sotsialisteechesky   (Socialist)   (Respoobliki)  (Republics).       Since 1991, fragmentation and a complete lack of  national purpose/focus/spending in The Russian  Federation have sent team sports spiraling downward.   Athletes are generally poor, so the old adage of “screw  the poor” applies here.  Many Russian athletes have  found success by competing for western sports teams,  especially hockey teams in the United States.  Most  world-class athletes who compete for Russia  generally  train outside the country to use better overall training  facilities.            This is a cold-weather sport country but there  aren’t any really high mountains, so Russia doesn’t do  well in alpine skiing and sledding events;  people of all  ages love simple sledding.  All skating and cross-  country skiing-related and events are hugely popular;   people of all ages love these sports.  Ice hockey is also  played with a small inflated ball on a full-size soccer  field; it is very fast and in some places is more popular  that hockey with a puck.  Soccer/football is the warm  
weather favorite.  In almost all secondary schools and parks,  a puck-style  hockey rink serves as a mini-soccer field during warm months.  Different  motor sports are gaining in popularity, though of course the cost is prohibitive  for most.  The same can be said for sports like tennis, swimming, etc.  The  favorite indoor game is chess, since fighting for position is key to survival in  Russia.  As a general rule, the older one gets, the fewer opportunities exist,  time-wise,  for sport.  Too much time must be devoted to working and  supporting the family, to survival.           Recreation is symbolized by hunting and fishing, which are enjoyed year  round.  These are not subject to the above rule regarding time restraints.          Regarding the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi: after they are  completed, the plan is to turn the area into a combined Russian Monte  Carlo/French Alps-type resort which would be patronized by the Russian elite,  the emerging Russian middle class, and, possibly, curious foreigners.  The  problems with this are several:   1.  Rich Russians patronize only the finest  resorts in the world, and love hob-nobbing with wealthy from other nations.    2.  The Russian middle class is too small and this, combined with the high  travel costs due to the region’s isolation and the high-end pricing expected,   prices them out of this place.  Additionally, using Sochi facilities as a training  site for future Olympic Games is to be expected and is justifiable---but  certainly is not cost-efficient.  One possible solution might be to focus on the  Asian/Arab world as a customer base.        Regarding the 2018 World Cup of Soccer, after it is completed, similar  problems arise.  The plan is for Russian Oligarchs (combined with naïve  foreign minority joint venture partners) to invest in these stadiums and in  soccer/football teams for them INSIDE of Russia the way some have invested  OUTSIDE of Russia to date, based on the expectation that European leagues  and clubs will keep expanding, a-la hockey.   This also appears unlikely; even  if such expansion were to continue, Russia’s criminal-based economic system would create too much uncertainty and instability for those grounded on law-  based society, even for its own Oligarchs.  No large-scale options appear  here except, again, Arab-world investment, which would draw on  the recent  immigration of many millions of Central Asian workers who live in Russia  unofficially/illegally.  A similar formula has worked very well in several regions  of the United States.