PhD, Senior lecturer in Russian studies Zvereva Vera ja työryhmä

217800 €

”Russian World” Next Door: discourses of the Russian political communication and cultural diplomacy in Finland


This project will analyse the discourses, ideas and images of the "Russian World" seen as a particular niche of Russia’s soft power and a geopolitical strategy aimed at moral and intellectual leadership in neighbouring countries. We employ a three-dimensional approach to this problem to understand its linguistic, visual and discursive character. First, the project explores the political discourse of Russian top politicians, addressed to an international audience and disseminated in digital media. This study will examine how non-democratic principles and conservative ideas are normalized in Russian political communication addressed to European partners. Second, it draws attention to discursive practices of Russian cultural diplomacy in Finland as a practical case study of the "Russian World" aimed at achieving cultural, moral and intellectual leadership in neighbouring countries. Third, it explores the visual dimension of both Russia's digitalized political communication and its cultural diplomacy in Finland to grasp the multimodal representations of the Russian World ideology. The project aims to extend the knowledge of the "authoritarian challenge" that attempts to question the Western democratic order by promoting the principles of cultural conservatism and political authoritarianism. Our research will have instrumental and educational practical implications. First, drawing on a broad interdisciplinary perspective, our project will result in a Research Methods Guidebook for studying Russia’s cultural diplomacy. Second, we will contribute to the evaluation of the existing "cultural bridges" between Finland and Russia. The research is based on both primary and secondary sources of information. A combination of methods like critical discourse analysis, post-structural discourse analysis and visual discourse analysis will allow us to collect and comprehensively explore the data remotely in the current COVID-19 environment.