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

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 09:15
Location: Hörsaal 6D P (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Anastasiia KAZUN, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russia
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 economic sanctions?”

The report analyzes key strategies of deproblematization of the economic sanctions (and Russian food embargo) which were used in four leading 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). 

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 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.