Russian Popular Geopolitics During Crisis and War
Turkish television series are a global sensation, and concurrently, targets of bans, boycotts, and protests. In Russia, Turkish series are countered with Russian television productions, promoted as disclosing truths about Turkey that are absent in Turkish series. A multimodal discourse analysis of East/West and Eastern Wives from a critical geopolitics perspective reveals Russian geo/political agenda in spaces of popular culture: It discursively positions Turkey as backward East, Russia as progressive West, and Ukraine as Russian territory. The Russian productions weaponize culture and deploy Islamophobic tropes to deter women from romantic pursuits in Muslim-majority countries. They are timely: Rising Russian conservatism exacerbates gender inequality and threatens Slavic Russian demography, as Russian women increasingly marry foreigners and migrate abroad. The productions also endeavor to mitigate anti-Russian public opinion in Ukraine and tame Turkish soft power in Russia, Ukraine, and Central Asia toward Russian neo-Eurasianist objectives.