EU and Ukraine in the Eyes of Russia: Media Perceptions of Russian Relations with the EU and Ukraine
Almost three years after the Euromaidan protests in 2013-2014, the circumstances in East Ukraine seem to be burdened by a frozen conflict. Russia is still holding on to the story that the annexation of Crimea was a “free referendum” of Ukrainian people expressing their desire to belong territorially to Russia. Unsolved conflicts and the future architecture of relations between Russia, Ukraine and the EU need to be redefined and remain a key strategic challenge for the EU. “A consistent and united approach must remain the cornerstone of EU policy towards Russia” (EEAS 2016). As suggested by the EU Global Strategy, to develop a dialogue-led, two-way interaction between equal partners is recognised as promising and, on the other hand, strenuous. The elites within the EU as well as the media should perceive the deficits in their own behaviour and develop new strategies on the ground. This paper presents a media perception study. The central question of this research is how Ukraine and the EU are perceived in Russian media. Three leading Russian newspapers (Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Kommersant, Komsomolskaya Pravda) have been selected to analyse the Russian media perception. The study coded over 500 articles that were published in May, September and October 2015.
Keywords: European Union, Russia, Ukraine, Crimea, East Ukraine Conflict, media analysis, images and perceptions
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