As part of cooperation between ACS-RSS and Russian Universe I’m finally pleased to announce that my first post on Russian stereotypes in the West is now translated into Romanian by the founder of ACS-RSS Alexandru Mîţă:
“Beware the Jabberwock, my son,
the jaws that bite and claws that scratch
Beware the jubjub bird
and shun the frumious bandersnatch.“
Lewis Carroll, “Jabberwocky”.
It is no use to blame the looking glass if your face is awry.
Nikolai Gogol, “The Inspector General”.
Russia is the ideal Other for the West (and vice versa). It is rather obvious to me yet often overlooked by various Russia watchers and experts. The reason behind this phenomenon is not only ‘bias’ or ‘propaganda’. Continue reading
Russian Stereotypes: Western Perception of Russia as seen through Russian’s eyes. Part III.
Through the Looking Glass: Western Media Coverage of Russia.
The first post on ‘Western media coverage of Russia’ (and the third in ‘Russian Stereotypes’ series) reveals some reasons behind the #SochiProblems popularity. The second one will cover the relation between the image of Russia in the West and the collective self-image of Russians… as well as what I call the ‘Pussy Riot effect’.
Media clearly plays a very important if not crucial role in the process of constructing the image of a country and its people. Moreover, stereotypes and media are a match made in heaven. Russian stereotypes aren’t an exception. Certain agenda, (confirmation) bias, lack of knowledge or misconception of Russia(ns) in the Western media form a perception’ iron curtain, invisible yet rigid blinkers on the eyes which produce a simplified demonization or mystification picture. I refer to the external manifestation of such phenomenon as ushanka syndrome. Continue reading
Russophobia vs. Westernophobia. Part I. Russophobia: The Discreet Charm of Cultural Racism & the Legacy of Hate.
The meaning of the word ‘Russophobia‘ is very broad and vague. For centuries the term has been a part of political and cultural discourse and has been used in Russia and in the West for various reasons. The aim of my series of posts on Russophobia vs. Westernophobia is to reveal some of the reasons behind the on-going popularity of ‘Russophobia’ in the West (as well as ‘Westernophobia’ in Russia). The post on ‘Westernophobia’ in Russia will be one of the next in the series.
Russian Stereotypes: Western Perception of Russia as seen through Russian’s eyes. Part II.
It should be noted here that by ‘Western popular culture’ I mean mainly klyukvified* films which I see as a height of evolution of stereotypical Russian narrative in the West. This post doesn’t deconstruct the Russian stereotypes in Western (American) films in detail. There are too many of these films and it will take not a post but a book for me to cover only some of them. My aim is also to reveal generalized characteristics of Russian men’ images in the Western cinema. I’ll devote a separate post to the view of Russian women in the West.
The image of Russia in contemporary Western world is to a big degree shaped by the popular culture and is articulated in films, books, songs/music videos, ads and caricatures. Since the Cold War era (and earlier) cultural propaganda in the form of mass culture products helped to fix the image of Russia and Russians in the ways shown below.
First of all it should be mentioned that speaking about ‘the West’ and ‘Russia’ as monolithic entities is itself a stereotyping practice. It is appropriate here because using these general concepts one can perfectly show/see the genesis and evolution of these stereotypes without going too deep into interesting but distracting details. The author doesn’t claim ‘objectivity’: the post represents my own views which were formed as a result of my continuing study of the so-called ‘Western discourse of Russia’. The latter itself is not a homogenic entity but rather a mixture of various Western concepts and political narratives applied to the complex discoursive construct called ‘Russia’.