Political ‘Hot’-topics and Latvian Identity Politics: Russian-minority narratives explored through media Open Access

Schiffman, Bradyn (Spring 2018)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/rv042t124?locale=en


New Year’s is the most celebrated holiday in Russian culture. But why is it that people in Latvia still celebrate New Year’s on Moscow time? Media represents the Russian-speaking community in Latvia in a variety of ways. By examining foreign affairs, ideological, ethno-political, and socio-economic topics, several narratives regarding Russian-speakers can be explored. The study of identity through the use of media as a source may help solidify our understanding of how Russian-speakers feel in contemporary Latvia.

Table of Contents


Introduction: ‘Hot’ Politics in Latvian Media.. 1

Purpose. 2

Breaking down Latvia. 4

Chart 1: Latvia’s Ethnic Breakdown. 6

Chart 2: Latvia’s Linguistic Breakdown.. 6

Map 1: Geographic Dispersion of Latvia’s Russian-speakers. 8

Chapter 1: Methods and Sources.. 10

1.1 Articles. 11

Table 1: Differences Among the Media Sources. 15

1.2 Interviews. 17

1.3 Secondary Sources. 19

The Realm of International Relations. 20

Russian-speakers & Identity Politics. 24

Political issues with Ethno-politics and Linguistics. 29

The Politics behind Latvia’s Socio-Economic Conditions. 33

Media in the Baltics. 36

1.4 Areas of Focus. 39

Chapter 2: Connotations of NATO’s Dragoon Ride.. 42

2.1 Local News and NATO.. 43

2.2 National News and NATO.. 46

2.3 International News and NATO.. 49

2.4 Summary of Media’s Coverage of NATO.. 52

Chapter 3: Russian Athletes and the 2018 Winter Olympics.. 54

3.1 Local News and the Olympics. 54

3.2 National News and the Olympics. 59

3.3 International News and the Olympics. 62

3.4 Summary of Media’s Coverage of the Olympics. 64

Chapter 4: Educational Reform in Latvia.. 66

4.1 Local News and Educational Reform.. 67

4.2 National News and Educational Reform.. 72

4.3 International News and Educational Reform.. 76

4.4 Summary of Media’s Coverage of Educational Reform.. 81

Chapter 5: The Curious Case of the European Union.. 83

5.1 Local Media’s Coverage of the EU.. 84

5.2 National Media’s Coverage of the EU & Eurozone. 89

5.3 International Media’s Coverage of the EU and Eurozone. 94

5.4 Summary of Media’s Coverage on the EU and Eurozone. 98

Conclusion.. 101

Trends I found consisted of the following: 102

Differences in Latvia’s media scene, by level of coverage: 102

Chart 3: A visual explanation of media biases. 103

Revisiting the hypothesis: 103

From this work, these are the conclusions that can be drawn: 103

Final Thoughts: 104

Bibliography.. 105

Reference Section for Interviews. 133


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