By David Owen

Dagastan_flagJuly 18 - Dagestan could launch a bid for the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics, aiming to extend a remarkable run of Russian success in securing major international sports events, insidethegames understands.

The possible bid, which is thought to centre on the city of Makhachkala, on the shores of the Caspian Sea, may surprise observers who regard the North Caucasus as a zone of extreme political turbulence.

However, Russian authorities appear to see leisure and tourism as a means of bringing greater prosperity, and hence stability, to the region.

Dagestan shares a border with Chechnya, scene of two brutal wars in recent times, with Russia fighting to retain control in the wake of the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Islam is a powerful influence in both Republics.

Any bid would require the backing of the Russian Olympic Committee.

Dagestan may face domestic competition, with a report last year suggesting that Kazan might be interested in bidding.

Kazan, which is known as Russia's Sports City, had reason to celebrate this week when it was chosen as host of the 2015 World Swimming Championships.

It is also hosting the 2013 World University Games.

Russia as a whole is enjoying a spectacular run of success in contests to host international sports competitions.

The next few years will bring the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the 2013 World Athletics Championships and the 2015 World Ice Hockey Championships to the country, along with several other important competitions.

The inaugural Summer Youth Olympic Games was staged in Singapore last year, with Nanjing in China earmarked to host the second such event in 2014.

Innsbruck is due to host the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games next January.

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