BRICS| Global Partners or International Spies? A Comparative Analysis of the Russian Media’s Coverage of the Law on “Foreign Agents”

Anna Popkova


This article analyzes how the four Russian media that cater to different Russian and global audiences—the newspaper Izvestiya, the satellite television channel Russia Today, the newspaper Kommersant, and the radio station Ekho Moskvy—covered the debate around the controversial law on “foreign agents” passed in Russia in the summer of 2012. The law and the media coverage it received exposed the clash between Russia’s desire for global integration and the type of nationalism that defines Russian national identity as incompatible with Western values. The findings demonstrate that, although different media offer different articulations of Russia’s national identity, the dominant articulation constructs the identity of Russia around the idea of a strong state that determines and manages the conditions of Russia’s global integration.


Russia, globalization, nationalism, media, “foreign agents” law

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