Strategic narratives and public diplomacy in the Russian news media portrayal of Sweden: case of Russia Today

Detta är en Master-uppsats från Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för globala studier

Sammanfattning: With the changes in the means and the scope of global communication, images and stories, promoted by political elites are gaining real influence not only on hearts and minds but also on the policy-making in the international setting. In the twenty-first century, the concern of “whose story wins” has started to dominate the field of public diplomacy. The purpose of this research was to explore the portrayal of Sweden by the international broadcasting network Russia Today or RT, supported by the Russian government and to trace strategic narratives within this depiction. RT is one of the most prominent instruments of the Russian public diplomacy, and it has gained popularity among certain audiences by positioning itself as an “underdog” and an alternative to the mainstream Western news. This thesis was meant to fulfil several purposes – to find out how an individual state is tackled in the context of Russian public diplomacy, to enrich the field of public diplomacy scholarship with empirical evidence about Sweden and RT and to contribute to the field of research on strategic narratives. Based on qualitative analysis of 112 articles, this research has found that Sweden was portrayed through three key themes: migration, security and identity/values. As for strategic narratives, using the three-level approach, two of those were identified – one of them was the international system narrative, and another – national system narrative. In conclusion, implications for Russian public diplomacy were drawn based on the findings of this thesis, and the work was grounded with the previous research.

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