2017 Catalan independence referendum: the projection of Russian strategic narratives by RT and Sputnik
MetadataShow full item record
During the recent years, Russia has been accused in meddling in the internal affairs of Western countries on several occasions. Claims of Russian information campaign have also surfaced related to the Catalan independence referendum, held on 1 October 2017. Although there have been some analyses the author is not aware of any wider academic research examining Russian information activity related to the referendum. The aim of the thesis was to identify the strategic narratives that Russia disseminated to the English-language audience in relation to the Catalan independence referendum, and connect them with broader Russian foreign policy interests. The author, inter alia, seek to ascertain why Russia was interested in Catalonia in the first place and how it is used various communicative tools to achieve its goals. The author set a hypothesis that Russia was taking advantage of the events in Catalonia to enfeeble the European Union. To test the hypothesis the author conducted a poststructuralist discourse analysis on the content of Sputnik and RT that was published between 1 September and 31 October 2017. Apart from the news articles, television coverage of RT was also analysed. The coverage was viewed through the prism of the strategic narratives theory by Miskimmon, O’Loughlin and Roselle in connexion with the discourse theory of Laclau and Mouffe. The author ascertained that the tense and at times violent conflict in Catalonia gave Russia a pretext to amplify the tensions and direct the coverage towards the European Union. Russia first argued for the intervention of the EU to give the conflict an international dimension. As the EU remained a bystander, Russia actively projected an identity narrative of the EU as hypocritical and not living up to the democratic values it serves to epitomise. EU was shown in decay and in the process of disintegration with an intent to weaken the West’s hegemony and by doing this strive for a multilateral world order where the role of Russia would be increased. The hypothesis was thus confirmed. The work contributes to the wider efforts of elucidating the range and technique of Russian information activities and demonstrates that Russia has vested interest not only in its close neighbourhood but also further away where it is not and active player itself.
The following license files are associated with this item: