Representation of migrants in the Russian mass media and its dynamics (2010-2020)


2020, Vol. 4. № 4 (14)

Representation of migrants in the Russian mass media and its dynamics (2010-2020)

For citation: Iakimova O. A. 2020. “Representation of migrants in the Russian mass media and its dynamics (2010 2020)”. Siberian Socium, vol. 4, no. 4 (14), pp. 22-40. DOI: 10.21684/2587-8484-2020-4-4-22-40

About the author:

Olga A. Iakimova, Cand. Sci. (Soc.), Associate Professor, Department of Integrated Marketing Communications and Branding, Ural Federal University (Yekaterinburg); ORCID: 0000-0003-2212-4357;


Over the last decades, scholars have reported a high level of xenophobia in Russia, which persists and spreads amidst all strata of the population. This shows the significance of the migration issue in the country and its topicality in the public discourse. However, the explanatory models used to analyze the perception of immigrants in Western countries do not find absolute empirical support in Russia. For this reason, researchers emphasize the importance of media discourse as a leading factor in constructing attitudes toward the foreign migrants in Russia. We take into account, firstly, the persistence of xenophobic attitudes among Russians, and secondly — the role of the migrants’ image, constructed by mass media, in shaping the perception of the immigrants among the locals. In this regard, this article hypothesizes that despite the official ban of the “hate language” and ethnization of crime, the negative representation of immigrants not only persists in the Russian media discourse, but is unfortunately increasing. To test this hypothesis, we utilize the results of research on the representation of immigration in Russian media discourse published between 2010 and 2020, which we analyze in the methodological framework of critical discourse analysis. We conclude that at the end of the current decade, there have been certain improvements in the media coverage of the migration issue, caused by the shift of the spotlight onto other problems, thus, the negative images of immigrants simply were not a part of the media agenda. On the one hand, this can help reduce ethnic tensions, although on the other, it complicates the development of the culture of interaction between the local and immigrant communities, since the national and cultural characteristics of migrants and their experience of living in Russia remain underrepresented in the media.


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