MRP komemoratsioonipraktikate kujunemine Eesti meedias: representatsioonide võrdlus 1989. aasta ajalehes "Edasi" ning 1999. ja 2009. aasta ajalehtedes "Postimees"
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The aim of the current Bachelor’s thesis “The Commemoration Practices of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in the Estonian Press: Comparison of the Representations throughout the Years 1989, 1999 and 2009 in Daily Newspapers "Edasi" and "Postimees"” was to explore the role of anniversary journalism in commemorating historical events and how this changes over time. In order to tackle this research problem, the author chose the example of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (MRP) signed between the Soviet Union and Germany in 1939 while comparing the representation of the pact in the daily newspaper “Edasi” in the year 1989 and in “Postimees” in the years 1999 and 2009 during the respectively 50th, 60th and 70th anniversary of the signing of the pact. The theoretical part of the thesis gave an overview of the concepts of collective memory and its dynamics, the role of journalism in constructing collective memory, and anniversary journalism. To achieve my research aim, I explored the different aspects of the actualization of the MRP in the framework of anniversary journalism. The research questions targeted aspects such as the possible changes in the actuality of the MRP, and the temporal and spatial frames of the actualization of the pact. I also dealt with the question of authority in telling the story about the MRP – who are the people the newspapers use as authors of the articles and which sources are referred to in connection with the pact. In addition I also explored the various journalistic genres in which the MRP was presented and the kinds of attitudes which were conveyed towards the pact in the articles. The sample was drawn from articles mentioning either the MRP or the Baltic Way in newspaper issues from 18-26 August 1989 in “Edasi”, 18-26 August 1999 in “Postimees” and 19-27 August 2009 in “Postimees”. Analysis was conducted with 54 articles out of which 18 were dated from 1989, 20 articles were from year 1999 and 16 from 2009. Articles which mentioned the Baltic Way, but did not include any references to the MRP and therefore were not analysed any further, numbered 6 in total: one article published in 1999 and five articles in 2009. In their case, the research was limited to simply counting their number. The other articles were anaylsed using content analysis and qualitative content analysis. The main conclusion of the current thesis was that the representation of the MRP in the years 1999 and 2009 has largely moved to the field of anniversary journalism when compared to year 1989. The biggest differences in the representation of the MRP unfold while comparing the year 1989 with 1999 and 2009. In 1989, the representation of the MRP largely depended on the prevailing interests of the era. The topic of MRP was closely connected with the loss of Estonian independence and therefore it was hoped that the denunciation of the MRP would also bring about the cancellation of the Estonian membership in the Soviet Union. It can be said that in 1989 the Estonian society and therefore also the Estonian media felt greater relatedness to the MRP than in 1999 and 2009 due to the wider scope of topics with which the MRP was associated in the press. Only half of the articles in 1989 had the MRP as their main focus while in 1999 and 2009 that was the case with the vast majority of the analyzed articles. Also, in 1989 the approach to the MRP was more unanimous – the typical evaluation of the MRP was a negative one while referring to significantly fewer sources. After regaining the independence the approach to the MRP has become more balanced. The main causes for mentioning the MRP in the press have become more related to the pact itself and the anniversary of its signing. The change in political circumstances has facilitated a greater emotional distance when dealing with issues related to the pact. This can be concluded from the greater variety of approaches towards the pact with a bigger number of sources referred to. While in 1999 it was possible to notice the approach to the pact becoming more neutral, in 2009 we can also discern alternative viewpoints to the MRP. Moreover, by the year 2009 we can see a clear trend of the commemoration of the Baltic Way becoming a dual process. On one hand, it is still referred to as a commemoration event of the MRP. On the other hand, it is securing itself a position of a separate newsworthy historical event in the Estonian press. If the Baltic Way is no longer commemorated only as an anniversary event of the MRP, then this gives evidence of changes in the Estonian collective memory regarding an event which originally was a commemoration of the MRP.
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