Faultlines in Russia's Discourse of Nation

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This article analyzes Russian television news accounts of the December 2010 Manezhnaia riots that followed an ethnic Russian football fan's murder by a group of men from the North Caucasus. It focuses on the narrative struggle to reconcile official nation-building rhetoric with grassroots realities and broadcasters' own assumptions. Using the tools of media discourse analysis, Stephen Hutchings and Vera Tolz demonstrate that national television's conceptual apparatus consists of a multifaceted amalgam in which interpretations of the Soviet period are modified through the influences of late imperial Russian intellectual traditions and western interpretations of societal diversity. Hutchings and Tolz show how the essentialization of ethnic boundaries within this apparatus leads both to the overinterpretation of interethnic aspects of the crisis, and to their occlusion. Rather than submitting to a univocal state machine, post-Manezhnaia broadcasting reveals fault lines whose partial convergence around a single narrative reflects the restricted logic of the conceptual apparatus and a perceived need to reflect the public mood.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)873-899
Number of pages26
JournalSlavic Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


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