From Friend to Foe, from Savior to Plotter : Analysis of Representations of Russian-European Relations in Russian Press

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Title: From Friend to Foe, from Savior to Plotter : Analysis of Representations of Russian-European Relations in Russian Press
Author: Podshivalova, Polina
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta, Sosiaalitieteiden laitos
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Research
Helsingfors universitet, Statsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för socialvetenskaper
Publisher: Helsingfors universitet
Date: 2013
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Media and Communication Studies
Medier och kommunikation
Abstract: The aim of this thesis is to examine the representations of Russian-European relations in the articles covering the Pussy Riot case in four Russian newspapers: Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Kommersant, Vedomosti, and Izvestia. The subject matter is relevant due to the fact that in recent years relations between Russia and Europe have become stagnant and unproductive. There are a variety of reasons that underpin the deterioration of Russian-European relations, including the world economic crisis and NATO expansion. However, coverage of these changes in the Russian press is influenced not only by the actual situation, but also by the discourses of political parties as well as by Russian national political culture. Because media representations convey values, beliefs, and meanings, the representations in Russian newspapers play a crucial role in shaping the way people see themselves and the country they live in. Media representations also have potential to influence how people perceive their relations with others and have an impact on their behavior. It means that Russian-European relations are eventually partly constructed by the way they are represented in the Russian press. The main research question is: how are relations between Europe and Russia represented in the articles covering the Pussy Riot case and in the context of Russian political culture and the discourses of different Russian political powers? The Pussy Riot case and associated events are a suitable angle for the research because they have invoked wide spread discussion in mass media and demonstrated some fundamental differences in Russian and European cultures. The Pussy Riot case is a criminal process of three members of the punk band Pussy Riot who were charged with hooliganism. The research is conducted within the theoretical frames of media discourse and international relations theory. The basic supposition implies that media discourse is, to a large extent, shaped by the discourses of diverse political forces and by a national political culture. In order to answer the research question, a critical discourse analysis of the relevant texts has been conducted on three levels: linguistic, intertextual, and the macro level of social structures. In the course of the analysis, it has been possible to retrieve a variety of representations of Russian-European relations. These representations are: political, cultural, and religious collision, Europe as a mentor, Europe as a savior, Europe as an economic partner, Russia as an integral part of Europe. The first one is more widely employed by the pro-government publications. The second and the third seem to be more relevant for the liberal press, while the last two representations are associated with the opinions of particular experts and politicians. Overall, the results enable us to conclude that the representation of Russian-European relations as a collision is hegemonic. It purports that regardless of what Putin’s government states in official papers and speeches meant for the European audience, it still does not consider Europe as a friend.
Subject: Pussy Riot
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