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Mass Media As A Tool Of Russian "Soft Power" In The Baltic States: Comparative Analysis

Student: Kseniya Frolova

Supervisor: Vera Ageeva

Faculty: Saint-Petersburg School of Social Sciences and Area Studies

Educational Programme: Political Science and World Politics (Bachelor)

Year of Graduation: 2021

The Russian government sets the protection of Russian diasporas as the main priority of its soft power strategy. After the collapse of the USSR, Russians appeared as one of the largest ethnic minorities in Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania. However, the integration of the Russian-speaking population In the Baltic states became an issue which the Kremlin did not disregard. Russian soft power in the Baltic is primarily directed on the Russian diaspora using mass media. The research evaluates the effectiveness of Russian media portals Sputnik and Baltnews as tools of soft power and compare their content and implementation in Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania. The research is conducted through quantitative content analysis, descriptive analysis of survey data, and comparative analysis. The research aims to find the correlation between the integration of the Russian diaspora in Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, its consumption of the Russian media sources, and political preferences. As a result, Russian-speaking residents of Latvia and Estonia tend to be more affected by Russian media agenda setting, while in Lithuania it is harder for Russian media sources to shape the audience's opinion due to more competently conducted integration of the Russian-speaking minority.

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