RUSSIA VERSUS “HITLER-GERMANY” AND “GAY-WEST”. Cultural History and Political Technology in Defence of a Besieged Fortress

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för språk och litteraturer

Abstract: Against the background of deteriorated relations between Russia and the West,this study conducts a Critical Discourse Analysis on the Russian nation-buildingproject, facilitated by official rhetoric and state-controlled television. The essaystarts with an examination of the cultural roots of a Russian ‘national idea’ andshows how these are present in today’s context. Further, it aims to determinecharacteristics of the inter-discourse communication between the elites and themajority.In an interdisciplinary approach, the study draws from literature on Russiancultural and political history, media and propaganda studies, and politicalscience.The findings of the study demonstrate that the Russian national idea can beviewed to comprise of a horizontal and a vertical dichotomy, i.e. of Russia’softentimes-problematic relationship to its surroundings and a special bondbetween Russian rulers and the Russian population. Both dichotomies featurestrongly in both official rhetoric and state-television. What regards specificcharacteristics of the inter-discourse communication, the findings point to aspecific vanguard mentality of the elites, the prevalence of state-propaganda,and, lastly, a ‘typical Russian’ practice of shaping one’s worldview withreference to past events. In conclusion, Russia is imagined as a besieged fortressdefending itself against, primarily, the Western Other.

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