Constructing European Union in the alternative media channel of the Eesti Konservatiivne Rahvaerakond Uued Uudised
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This Master’s thesis studies the EU narratives in Estonian populist radical right (PRR) party’s alternative media channel Uued Uudised, which serves as an ideological platform where Estonian Conservative People’s party (Eesti Konservatiivne Rahvaerakond, EKRE) distributes news from their perspective. PRR movement is on the rise all over EU, but also in Western World in general. Their core ideology is combined with xenophobic nationalism – opposition to immigration, multiculturalism, political elite, while supporting authoritarianism claiming to represent the ‘pure’ ordinary citizens. Euroscepticism entered the agenda of Estonian discourse with the accession of EU in early 2000’s, however, became a prominent actor during the refugee crisis, that occurred shortly after EKRE’s electoral breakthrough in 2015 and has allowed EKRE to expand its discursive opportunities. However, Estonia was not hit by a wave of asylum seekers. EKRE’s successfully mobilized their electorate through socio-psychological strategies and playing on people’s feeling of security, comparing EU as the new oppressor after the collapse of Soviet Union. Strategical approaches, as relying on conspiracy theories, victim-attacker roles, attribution of blame and ability the push their favorable agenda to political discourse or public, highlight the PRR rhetoric as important tool implementing their nationalist imaginaries of less integrated EU and more sovereign Estonia. Based on this research is proposed a theory, that EKRE extensively uses specific EU narratives for scapegoating the EU through real and imagined fears and deepening the polarization of society in order to maintain their electorate. PRR rhetoric serves as a useful ‘toolbox’ of strategies for embedding these narratives.
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