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

Irina Levontina (Vinogradov Russian Language Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences)

Elena Shmeleva (Vinogradov Russian Language Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences)

Levon Saakyan & Olga Severskaia (Pushkin State Russian Language Institute, Russia)

Alexander Grishchenko (Moscow Pedagogical State University, Russia)

Panel abstract: Discourse of Power in Contemporary Russia

As is known, there is a close connection between the life of a society and the lexicon of the language spoken by it. In Russia, the discourse of opposition as usual is the focus of attention. However, it is even more important to study the discourse of power, especially as it has an influence on the Russian discourse as a whole.

The panel deals with the analysis of discourse of power in Putin's Russia. The panelists interpret the discourse of power not only as the language of authorities and politicians, but also as a language of all pro-government newsmakers and celebrities, journalists, film-makers and even church hierarchs. They will pay special attention to the key values and challenges proclaimed by the regime and to the slogans and clichés.

The discourse of power changed several times during 15 years of Putin's era (including four years of the formal presidency of Dmitrij Medvedev). The beginning of Putin's presidency was characterized by the change of basic values and slogans advanced by the authorities. The Soviet "paradigm of greatness" was replaced by the "paradigm of prosperity". This tendency became even stronger during Medvedev's presidency, but the third Putin's presidential term completely changed the political situation in Russia and the whole set of key words of power has been altered. The language of the politicians of Soviet time was a language of uneducated people with some dialect or regional features and speech mistakes. The language of contemporary Russian politicians is a standard Russian with almost no mistakes. Putin brought in a new style of informal communication with the audience and the expansion of slang and rude jokes into political speech. Proclaiming political correctness, Russian politicians use in their speech ethnic slurs and sexist expressions.

Language of political elite is now a mixture of words and expressions taken from different language styles, which may have different connotations. The more so, the language of the priests and even hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church is an odd mixture of high style of the church sermon, soviet collocations well known to all graduates of Soviet schools and modern Russian language of PR managers and newsmakers. Media make an important contribution to the formation of the implicatures of the discourse of power. Pro-government picture of the world is created both by a repetition of key themes, senses and images connected with the dominants of consciousness of the audience and the use of the expressions loaded with evaluative attitudes as well as idioms and euphemistic/dysphemistic expressions.