Head of the Organising Committee
Sanna Turoma
sanna.turoma [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Coordinator
Kaarina Aitamurto
kaarina.aitamurto [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Secretary
Maarit Elo-Valente
maarit.elo-valente [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Intern
Miikka Piiroinen
miikka.piiroinen [at] helsinki.fi

Conference e-mail:
fcree-aleksconf [at] helsinki.fi

The Aleksanteri Institute

Unioninkatu 33 (P.O. Box 42)
00014 University of Helsinki
phone +358-(0)50-3565 802

aleksanteri [at] helsinki.fi


Past Aleksanteri Conferences

Anastasiia Kazun (National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russia)

Why Russians Are Not Afraid of the Economic Sanctions? The Counterrhetoric Strategies of the Print Media

International sanctions against individuals, businesses and officials from Russia have become one of the iconic topics of 2014. Possible consequences of these actions were actively discussed in the media. In 2014 the central and regional press published 92,155 articles on this issue. The sanctions also attract a high public attention. According to surveys by the Levada Center, this issue was repeatedly named as the most memorable events of the month previous to the wave of survey (21-28% of respondents). However, there is an unexpected fact that economic sanctions are not perceived by the population as a problem. Opinion polls show that a large proportion of Russians do not see the negative effects of the issue both for the country as a whole and for themselves personally. At the same time Russian food embargo is evaluated even positively. Therefore, it is necessary to answer the question: Why Russians do not afraid the economic sanctions?

The report analyzes key strategies of deproblematization of the economic sanctions (and Russian food embargo) which were used in four Russian printed editions from March 2014 to December 2014: Rossiyskaya Gazeta (pro-governmental, 945 articles), Novaya Gazeta (oppositional, 396 articles), Argumenty i Fakty (popular mass newspaper, 258 articles) and Kommersant (business magazine, 1574 articles). Thus, we consider the discussion in the four editions, which could be placed at the poles of the two axes: ideological stance and information category. According to the Title Popularity Ranking (TPR), these prints are leading.

Newspapers use a wide range of deproblematization strategies. Some of them are aimed to refute the importance of the problem as a whole (unsympathetic counterrhetoric), others - on proof of insolvency of the proposed ways to solve it (sympathetic counterrhetoric). [Ibarra, Kitsuse, 2003]. We conclude that in case of discussion on economic sanctions unsympathetic counterrhetoric prevail. Most popular strategies of deproblematization are antipatterning, telling anecdote and counterrhetoric of insincerity in terms of Ibarra and Kitsuse. The report describes most striking examples of these strategies and makes an inference about their weak and strong points. Also, we make some conclusions about intensity of the discussion on the issue. For example, we deduce that Russian food embargo was more noticeable in the public space than sanctions. The share of articles on sanctions mentioning Crimea steadily declined. At the same time, the share of articles on the subject, mentioning the rouble exchange rate significantly increased.