The Strongman Speaks: Pattern of Rhetoric in the Kremlin and the State-Owned Media in Regards to the War in Ukaine.
Thompson, Caitlin E.
- This thesis seeks understand the role of the media in an authoritarian country. Is the media an independent figure that frames a conflict in a way that differs from that of the government, like would be the case in a democracy? Or is the framing of said conflict simply copied from the government and repeated in the media? Finally, I ask what factors might influence changes in the patterns of usage ... read morein the rhetoric. Here, I ask this question in the context of the Russian government and media’s treatment of the conflict in Ukraine. I examine how Kremlin pundits like President Putin frame the annexation of Crimea and the war in the Donbas, and I look to see whether the same framing is repeated in the state-owned and Kremlin sympathetic media bureau TASS. I define framing as the use of key phrases that are repeated often. Because framing of the conflict is not consistent over the course of 2014 to 2015, I identify moments of significant change in the number of times TASS mentioned a particular phrase and put this change in the context of events on the ground and public opinion in order to outline what factors may influence when a phrase is phased in or out of Kremlin and media framing of the Ukrainian conflict. In looking at how and why the framing changes, I am able to draw theories about whether the media responds to current events and public opinion or simply copies the Kremlin’s rhetoric in regards to the conflict in Ukraine.read less