Investigating the diffusion of the Kremlin’s buzzwords before they entered the mainstream
Studying conflicts in post-Soviet spaces through structured analysis of textual contents available on-line
This project is carried out with the support of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation under art. 23 bis, D.P.R. 18/1967. All opinions expressed within the scope of this project represent the opinion of their author and not those of the Ministry.
“Le posizioni contenute nel presente report sono espressione esclusivamente degli autori e non rappresentano necessariamente le posizioni del Ministero degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale”
⇨ gain some insights on cultural points of reference of the Kremlin and on the radicalisation journey of public discourse in Russia.
Preliminary question: did they really gain prominence only with the invasion?
Were they introduced by the Kremlin, and then picked up by the media?
Or were they first popularised by the media, and only later entered the official discourse?
Or were they used only by some media earlier, and if so, which ones?
some of these buzzwords entered the official and media mainstream only in 2022, others starting with 2014
mainstream media pick up on these buzzwords after they appear in official discourse
key buzzwords that accompanied the invasion were already established in at least one fringe nationalist publication (namely, Zavtra).
⇨ keywords previously used only in marginal nationalist circles have appeared in the Kremlin’s official discourse in recent years, most distinctly starting with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, without obvious intermediary steps
⇨ these may be evidence of Vladimir Putin’s own radicalisation journey, or at least that speech writers and communication professionals working for the Kremlin took inspiration from this previously marginal cultural space
Expressions immediately associated with the war
special military operation
Expressions used to put war in context
Russian mainstream media:
Russian fringe nationalist media:
Tsargrad (nationalist TV, new, wider reach)
Zavtra.ru (nationalist weekly, publishing since the 1990s)
Content Analysis Starter Toolkit for the R programming language - https://github.com/giocomai/castarter
a corpus in a tabular format with text and metadata
a selection of these corpora are publicly available for download, when the license allows for it - https://tadadit.xyz/datasets/
an interactive interface will be made available for some of them
extensive or full list of keywords in context can be shared in documentation or posts accompanying the article
A brand new concept
Few but significant early mentions on Zavtra
“Russia must declare as its goal the denazification of Ukraine.”
To achieve all of this, a real mobilisation is needed: “a victory against Ukraine is not imaginable without a cardinal change of the current quasi-liberal course”.
Russia itself needs to be cleansed, getting rid of all the liberals that are part of the state apparatus.
Mikhail Delyagin, 21 August 2014, “Nakanune”, Zavtra.ru
Aboundant and significant earlier mentions only on Zavtra
Unclear trends, inconsistent use across different sources (e.g. reference to anglo-saxon legal system), kept for reference.
Increasingly found across all sources starting with 2014; somwhat used in other media earlier, most consistently on Zavtra.
Zavtra has been published as a weekly printed broadsheet newspaper since the 1993.
Zavtra’s ideology is a version of Russian nationalism that celebrates Russia’s Tsarist past, its Stalinist glory, and Russia’s inevitable future rise to victory.
they also boast to have created trends that have entered the mainstream:
“Over the years, we at Zavtra have created several ideologies, several powerful trends that have entered and continue to enter the public consciousness.”
⇨ Zavtra itself is unlikely to be influential; but its brand of nationalism and worldview, politically marginal until recently, has obviously entered the mainstream from the front door (i.e. through the Kremlin)
castarteralready functional, better documentation and features forthcoming