Latvian and Russian-speaking press in Latvia before the EU accession referendum

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Title: Latvian and Russian-speaking press in Latvia before the EU accession referendum
Author: Jaranova, Ksenija
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political and Economic Studies
Thesis level: master's thesis
Abstract: In the 2003 Latvian citizens voted ‘Yes’ to EU accession. However, a closer look at the referendum results shows that the Russian-speaking citizens of Latvia voted predominantly against EU accession, while the Latvian-speakers predominantly voted in favour of accession. While there are various explanations put forward by other researchers to understand this difference, the aim of this work is to compare what has been published on EU accession matters in the Russian language press and the Latvian language press in Latvia before the referendum. Two largest Latvian language newspapers (Diena and Neatkariga Rita Avize Latvijai) and two largest available Russian language newspapers (Chas and Telegraf) were used in the study with a total data set of 181 articles. Quantitative and descriptive content analysis was used to analyze the data. Surprisingly, the results of the study showed that there was no large difference in the presentation of EU in the two language newspapers. While the Latvian language newspapers published mostly positive articles on EU accession, the Russian language newspapers did not publish mostly negative articles – on the contrary, neutral or positive articles were noted most frequently. Also news frames were applied in quite a similar fashion in both Latvian and Russian language newspapers. Thus, in the case of this study it has been concluded that the Russian language media most likely did not play a role in influencing the predominant no-vote by the Russian-speakers or this influence might have been minor. Thus, the cause of the predominant no-vote must be sought elsewhere; perhaps, it can be explained as a protest vote against government policies of the time or a protest vote to voice dissatisfaction with the economic difficulties in the areas densely populated by Russian-speakers. A possible explanation to the small differences between the presentations of EU in the two language newspapers could be that the clashing points between the Latvian and Russian speakers lies elsewhere – in the education, language and citizenship policies and EU accession did not affect this areas in any significant way.
URI: URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201703272115
Date: 2012
Subject: EU referendum
Russian-speaking press
Latvian-speaking press
sanomalehdet -- venäjänkieliset
sanomalehdet -- latviankieliset
Euroopan unioni -- kansanäänestys
Discipline: Political Science, Politics
Yleinen valtio-oppi, politiikan tutkimus
Allmän statslära, politologi

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