The image of Russia in the modern Western press

For the period — from 5 May 2013 to 5 July 2013. Sources of the Western media, which were included in the sample circle: The New York Times The New York TimesLe Figaro, The Washington Times, Monde, El Pais, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, The New York Post, The Christian Science Monitor, Independent, Foreign Policy , Le Nouvel Observateur, Die Zeit, Il Sole 24 Ore.


The main aspects that we addressed in the Western press on the Russian theme (in articles published during the period from 05.05.2013 on 05.07.2013): the political and economic situation in Russia, homophobia, "Snowden's case," the effect Pussy Riot, The Olympic Games in Sochi, etc.

First of all, it is striking that the Western press in almost all subjects related to Russia, trying to find an entirely negative. In this widely used basic techniques such manipulative influence of media on the audience:

  • "Orchestration" — psychological pressure in the form of the constant repetition of certain facts, regardless of the truth;
  • "Selection" ("rigging") — the selection of certain trends — for example, only positive or negative, distortion, exaggeration (understatement) of these trends;
  • "Building rouge" (embellishment of the facts);
  • "Pasting labels" (eg, prosecutorial, offensive, etc.);
  • "Transfer" ("projection") — the transfer of any qualities (positive and negative) to a phenomenon (or person);
  • "Evidence" — a reference (not necessarily correct) to authorities in order to justify an action, or that the slogan;
  • "Folksy game", including, for example, as a simplified form of information.

For example, the Western countries under the pen analysts of the largest European and American newspapers certainly look "bastion of democratic values," freedom, human rights, etc. ("building rouge"), while modern Russia is an authoritarian country violating these very values of freedom and human rights, "police state" with vast, inhospitable territory (the borders of which can not be protected), surrounded by hostile neighbors [Stratfor, 2013]. In addition, Russia is accused of nostalgia for former Soviet greatness, she wants to get back at any cost [Frachon, 2013], that "Putin was able to close his mouth opposition» [Avril, 2013a], etc. So in relation to Russia is actively used and well developed in the past decades reception "sticking labels."

So in the article of M.Adomanisa Forbes given, in fact, a very provocative question: "Almost every time a popular uprising overthrew the authoritarian government, people are beginning to openly speculate about when the same thing will happen in Russia?» [Adomanis, 2013]. Imagine for a moment that a similar form of the question would arise in the article the journalist influential Russian newspaper about America. I fear that this could lead to a diplomatic scandal and accused Russia of interfering in the internal affairs of the United States of inciting people to the coup. And in relation to the Western press Russia, unfortunately, can not afford that …

It is equally hostile to Russia and set up an editorial in The Christian Science Monitor, where full compliance with the manipulative techniques of "building rouge", "fraud" and "sticking labels" totally unsubstantiated claims that "America has long based its foreign policy on morality, but Russia under Putin arrives is not as» [Monitor's Editorial Board, 2013] . Do The Christian Science Monitor seriously believes that the U.S. expressed its foreign morality in Iraq when falsely accused thence leadership in the illicit production of nuclear weapons, launched a war that has cost the lives of thousands of civilians? Or high morality of U.S. policy emerged during the Afghanistan war?

According to The Christian Science Monitor, Putin's decision to send to Syria Defense System — "indifference to human suffering and the demands of the people, who asks for democracy» [Monitor's Editorial Board, 2013]. A supply of weapons to the West Syrian opposition, which they kill the legitimate government troops and civilians again, this means that a sample of morality again?

Even if the Western press praises for something Russia and Putin, it is usually just the irony. Thus, in view of M.Gudvina The New York Post, Putin knows what are the national interests of his country and is willing to defend those interests, and Obama lives illusions: "disorder in the world is growing with each passing day, and Obama did not seem to notice it and do not worry," as it is just a "little mouse against a man» [Goodwin, 2013].

Where to look sharper passages M.Gudvina "orkestrovochnye 'approval J. R.Boltona and PE DeSutter in Foreign Policy, It is believed that the "plan to reduce nuclear arms, Obama proposed, means that Moscow can get away with murder" because "the rhetoric and politics of Russia outrageous, but even worse is that the Obama administration intends to further weaken the deterrent force and the U.S. missile defense in order placate Moscow »[Bolton, Desutter, 2013]. Yes, if you believe the emotional rhetoric J. R.Boltona and PE DeSutter, it appears that Obama — almost the agent of the Kremlin, deliberately destroying the U.S. defense …

The charges of the West in a reckless concessions Putin and Russia are also contained in the article of the journalist El Pais Jean-M.Kolombani, which (according to him, in contrast to Western leaders) sees growing signs of absolutism in Russian domestic politics and ultra — in the external [Colombani, 2013]. Thus, The New York Post and El Pais solidarity that attitude (and still is far from rosy) West towards Russia must be even more tough and hostile.

British The Huffington Post in connection with the adoption of a new Russian law to ban the spread of propaganda of homosexuality to minors, making podtasovochny concluded that "Russia is returning to a state-level approval is homophobia tsarist and Stalinist» [Tatchell, 2013], assuming, apparently, that democracy and respect for human rights should be seen precisely in the active and total propaganda gay movement, regardless of age and religious traditions of a country.

Another event causing mass protests in the Western press — new Russian law on non-profit political organizations that receive funding from abroad, who now have to register as foreign agents. The Washington Post believes that this is "a blow to civil society organizations, which could undermine the construction of democracy in Russia in the years ahead» [Lally, 2013], although in fact the law does not prohibit a politically directed NGOs receiving foreign funding. Not to mention the fact that the reaction of the Western media would most likely quite different if, for example, the American political NGOs would receive financial assistance to the Russian …

No less active — and for many months — is discussed in the Western media history punk band Pussy Riot, which, by means of "building rouge" is presented to foreign readers as a bulwark of democratic feminism. For instance, Independent believes that the trial participants Pussy Riot, shocking Speaking at the Christ the Saviour with a song that urged the Virgin rid of Putin, was the impetus for the global debate about the nature of the protest movement and the role of women in Russia, "it shows what can be achieved by women who do not back down from his convictions» [Walker, 2013]. I wonder what would have written Independent, if American feminists would come out with a "punk prayer service" directed against President Obama in the lead cercuses Washington? I would suggest that for pompous phrases about women who "do not back down from his belief" in Independent even then there would be no place …

The planned reorganization of the Government of the Russian Federation, Russian Academy of Sciences has caused a lot of controversy — and the scientific community, both in the parliament and in the media. But here, the Western media is not inclined to analyze the "pros" and "cons", stating that "this unprecedented in its scope and hasty reform» [Bonet, 2013] is extremely negative …

Great response around the world has caused, as we know, the case of former CIA agent E.Snoudena, exposed the tracking system online correspondence of the leading countries of the world, the adjusted U.S. secret services. Of course, the Western media has tried and this case is used in anti-Russian purposes: such "orkestrovochnyh" was published many articles. But the essence of most of them is simple: unproven claims that "for a carefully planned campaign to use the situation with Snowden to heat up anti-American sentiment in Russia is the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service» [Gertz, 2013].

Equally unfounded Russian opposition any a priori is the Western media most honest fighter against corruption and a champion of democracy. Since the beginning of July 2013, the mayor of Yaroslavl, "a symbol of the hopes of the Russian political opposition» [Herszenhorn, 2013], was arrested on charges of soliciting bribes. But even when the mayor "categorically denied the allegations, federal officials continued to assert that he was guilty," — writes in The New York Times D. Hershenhorn [Herszenhorn, 2013]. So, D. Hershenhornu some unknown way it is known that the Mayor of Yaroslavl did not take any bribes, and that the Russian authorities want to scare the detention of "all independent politicians and just active citizens." But as D. Hershenhorn still not an investigator or prosecutor, and builds his argument is unsubstantiated, then the question arises that if the mayor of Yaroslavl, in fact, the result would be a bribe-taker? What then will write The New York Times?

Little question to the reader. Perdpolozhim that a terrorist opposition made a statement on the internet that, defending independence, for example, Texas, he will do anything to disrupt the Olympic Games held in the United States. What titles will be released in the western press articles on this subject? I am confident that with the perturbed. Something like "America will not allow terrorists to disrupt the Olympic Games," etc.

However, in relation to a terrorist Doku Umarov, has declared its intention to disrupt the Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014, Il Sole 24 Ore, affords a very different headline — neither more nor less than the "Emir of the Caucasus declares war Olympic Games Putin» [Scott, 2013]. That is not a terrorist, and not even a separatist, and the "Emir of the Caucasus", and the worldwide Olympic Games, and the "Olympics of Putin" … Then you and the "building of rouge" (for terrorists) and the manipulation of (interest in hosting the Olympics is assigned to only one person ), and "the game, in the common …"

Il Sole 24 Ore echoed by Le Figaro, not without sarcasm, arguing that "any act of terrorism in Sochi will undermine the creditworthiness of Russian President Vladimir Putin» [Avril, 2013b]. And right there is a link to some authoritative opinion that "conversion Umarov's more like a provocation, the purpose of which may be a new crackdown special services» [Avril, 2013b], then there is a clear transfer of negative qualities with terrorism in the Russian secret services.

Against this background, the whole article is quite critical in T. Genole Le Nouvel Observateur seems much more sympathetic to Russia. "Russia — disorderly state in which the solution to any problem is impossible without the direct intervention of Putin — says T. Genole [Guenole, 2013], and the" Putin — no not a dictator, he acts as an arbitrator in an oligarchic system, which includes businessmen, senior officials and the policies, combined unconditional loyalty to the president [Guenole, 2013]. Quite accurately marked T. Genole and "the main problem of the Russian opposition — the universal obsession with the protest against Putin and the lack of policy proposals that meet the aspirations of the people … The political views of the participants in the movement range from the extreme right to the extreme left, therefore, a common political program, they can not make too »[Guenole, 2013].

Cautious optimism concerning the relations between Russia and the West can be traced in Article V. of England The Washington Post, where it is noted that "a State Department official praised Russia for logistical assistance to the FBI agents conducting the investigation into the bombings Boston» [Englund, 2013]. A similar view was expressed in and Ch.Sheynor The Huffington Post: "We have to thank the Russian for the information» [Shanor, 2013].

Save peaceful relations with Russia calls and P. J. Saunders in The Washington Post. "What explains the hysteria around Russia? — He asks his readers — Judging by the tone of statements that go to Washington for political discourse, you would think that Russian forces are concentrated near the western border, and the opposition in Russia executed hundreds »[Saunders, 2013].

But Mr. Erler Die Zeit expressed even more definitely has the title of the article, "Stop kicking Russia». The author insists that Europe needs a "comprehensive European policy towards Russia, where the starting point would be the concept of partnership for modernization, by which is meant not only cooperation in the field of technology, but covering the whole of society reform — from good governance and working social system to a strong civil society, which is critical of the current government partner »[Erler, 2013].

Conclusions. So, we analyzed the number of articles in the Western press (American, British, French, Spanish, German) on the Russian theme (published in the period from 05.05.2013 on 05.07.2013) was 21. In this case, found that in 16 of them created a distinctly negative image of Russia. The number of articles in the Western press on the Russian theme (published in the same period) with a positive image of Russia — 0. Number of articles in the Western press on the Russian theme (published in the period from 05.05.2013 on 07.05.2013), in which the emphasis was not on the negative image of Russia, and on the idea of cooperation with it, even if forced: 5.

Of course the Russian reality — a complex phenomenon, where you can find a lot of both negative and positive effects. That's why the "Russian political life should be analyzed in its entirety» [Guenole, 2013]. But, alas, in the western press it happens very rarely. More often turns out quite differently — under the guise of objectivity and impartiality of the majority of the authors of articles in the Western press exaggerated create a negative image of Russia.

Published in the journal "Media Education". Of 2013. Number 4.


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  2. Avril, P. (2013a). En un an, Poutine a musele l'opposition. Le Figaro. 05/05/2013.
  3. Avril, P. (2013b). Menaces sur Sotchi. Le Figaro. 07/03/2013.
  4. Bolton, JR, Desutter, PA (2013). Russian Roulette: Obama's plan for nuclear reductions is letting Moscow get away with murder. Foreign Policy. 21.06.2013.
  5. Bonet, P. (2013). El Kremlin despoja a la Academia de Ciencias de sus propiedades. El Pais. 07/03/2013.
  6. Colombani, J.-M. (2013). La transigencia con Putin. El Pais. 12.05.2013.
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  8. Erler, C. (2013). Schluss mit dem Russland-Bashing! Die Zeit. 10.06.2013.
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  11. Goodwin, M. (2013). Mouse vs. man in new Cold War. The New York Post. 23.06.2013.
  12. Guenole, T. (2013). "Etat policier", "dictature": vu de France, la Russie de Poutine est caricaturee. Le Nouvel Observateur. 12.06.2013.
  13. Herszenhorn, DM (2013). Russian Mayor, an Opposition Figure, Is Arrested. The New York Times. 07/03/2013.
  14. Lally, K. (2013). Russia foreign agent law imperils democracy. The Washington Post. 27.05.2013.
  15. Monitor's Editorial Board. Why US must stop Russian missiles for Syria. The Christian Science Monitor. 28.05.2013.
  16. Saunders, PJ (2013). Keeping the peace with Russia. The Washington Post. 23.05.2013.
  17. Scott, A. (2013). L'emiro del Caucaso dichiara guerra alle Olimpiadi di Putin. Il Sole 24 Ore. 07/03/2013.
  18. Shanor, C. (2013). Don't Bash Russian Intelligence. The Huffington Post. 04/06/2013.
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  20. Tatchell, PG (2013). Vladimir Putin, The Czar of Homophobia. The Huffington Post. 07/04/2013.
  21. The Washington Post's Editorial Board (2013). Russia foreign agent law imperils democracy. The Washington Post. 26.05.2013.
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