Media, memory, and minority: the Russian-language TV channel ETV+ and its role in the long-lasting “war of memories” in Estonia



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Tartu Ülikool


This research evaluates the role of public minority language television as an agent of memory and actor in the achievement of the social cohesion. More precisely, it is focused on the case of the Estonian public television channel in the Russian language ETV+ and its coverage of commemorations in Estonia. This thesis analyses representations and interpretations of historic events in order to define how it deals with the conflict of memories between the Estonian and Russian-speaking communities. The theoretical framework and research methodology refer to studies of media, memory, and minorities. Specifically, this study uses a combination of qualitative methods: from the one side it analyses the narrative indicators in the coverage of anniversary ceremonies; from the other side, it evaluates these narrative indicators, interprets meanings and draws the conclusion on this basis. The research defines three major categories of indicators: “self”/ “other”, shared Estonian-Russian history, and representation of the 'Russian' element in the local Estonian history. On the empirical level, this study deals with materials produced by the television channel ETV+ during official and unofficial commemorations. It focuses on the coverage of four official Estonian anniversaries: the Estonian Independence Day (the 24th of February in 2016 and 2017), the Estonian Victory Day (the 23rd of June 2016), and Day of Restoration of Independence (the 20th of August 2016). In addition, it includes the 'Russian Victory Day' (the 9th of May 2016) and its commemoration in Estonia. The research period is from February 2016 to February 2017, because the work of the thesis was finished before the other dates of anniversaries. The research concludes that the public television in minority language can be a platform for the negotiation of the shared memory of majority and minority populations.