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Durham University

Open World Research Initiative (OWRI)

International Broadcasting and the Post-Soviet Russian-speaking Community

Professor Stephen Hutchings (University of Manchester) will be investigating the media’s role in shaping the contours and values of, and reflecting tensions and fractures within, the post-Soviet Russian-speaking community.

With particular attention to key global media events centring on the post-Soviet space (Eurovision 2017 in Kiev and the 2018 World Cup in Russia), this project will consider the following issues:

(a) the relationship between language and nationhood in the context of Russian as a universalising lingua franca;

(b) post-Soviet cultural affinities and conflicts;

(c) the transnational negotiation of socio-cultural and political values;

(d) post-Soviet collective memory;

(e) tensions between ethnic and post-imperial identities;

(f) common news agendas (including ‘information war’ narratives);

(g) Europe in the post-Soviet imagination;

(h) the Russian-speaking community’s conceptions of the relationship between the cosmopolitan, the transnational and the national.

These issues are treated in three interlinked dimensions:

1) programmes broadcast by Russia’s Channel 1;

2) the ‘remediation’ of their content via new media web-based platforms, including You-Tube and Twitter (employing media discourse analysis);

3) audience responses to this output (using social media analytics and focus group methods).

The overarching framework for the analysis reflects the principle that the national and the transnational mutually constitute one another in a process that is ongoing, performative and perpetually self-renewing, and that language is key to that process.

For more information about this project contact:


Stephen Hutchings and Vitaly Kazakov, ‘From Russophone to Russophobe: Eurovision 2017 and Russian-speaking Social Media Audiences in the Age of the ‘Information War’, forthcoming in Freedom of Speech and Critical Journalism in the Russian Media Sphere (edited by Katja Lehtisaari and Mariëlle Wijermars).