What stories do states tell about themselves and their neighbours, and how are these narratives challenged? This study takes the case of the European ‘refugee crisis’ of 2015-2016, a period of hostile relations between Russia and the European Union, to examine the vision of Europe disseminated by Russian state-controlled media, and the alternative offered by independent media. It analyses 609 news reports on the ‘refugee crisis’ from state-controlled broadcaster Channel One and 181 news pieces from the independent web-based outlet TV Rain. Adopting the strategic narrative framework proposed by Miskimmon, O’Loughlin and Roselle (2013), this study both provides new detail on the narratives found on Russian state-controlled media, and asks the previously unresearched question: how do independent media outlets react to the dominant narratives seen on state broadcasters? It uses a grounded theory approach to elaborate new findings on the behaviour of independent media. The importance of independent media has traditionally been understood in terms of its ability to hold government to account, but the findings of this study suggest independent media can also act as a watchdog and corrective to state-controlled media. This study thus contributes to the literature on both strategic narratives, and media theory.
Keywords: grounded theory, refugees, strategic narratives, independent media, state-controlled media, Russia
How to Cite:
Tiratsoo, M., (2021) “Visions of Europe in Crisis: Strategic narratives and their alternatives in Russian state and independent media coverage of the 2015-16 ‘Refugee Crisis’”, Slovo 34(2). doi: https://doi.org/10.14324/111.444.0954-6839.1170