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Competitive Discourse in an Imitational Democracy: The Multifaceted Image of the Opponents in the Online Materials of Russian Political Parties and Leaders Open Access


Other title
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Medvedev, Artem A.
Supervisor and department
Nedashkivska, Alla (Modern Languages & Cultural Studies)
Examining committee member and department
Dailey-O'Cain, Jennifer (MLCS)
Osadnik, Waclaw (MLCS)
Kost, Claudia (MLCS)
Maheux-Pelletier, Genevieve (MLCS)
Coleman, Heather (History & Classics)
Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies
Slavic Linguistics
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
In contemporary Russia, the Internet serves as the most diverse and open platform of sharing and contrasting ideas. While the most life-like imitational democracy elements do manifest themselves to a limited extent in the mainstream print and electronic media, only online do all political forces and leaders have the opportunity of reaching a wide audience and disseminating seemingly uncensored information. This thesis analyzes the discourse of Russia’s political parties and figures through the prism of representation strategies. Particular focus is made on the ways Russian politicians represent themselves indirectly, through their opponents. Through the adaptation of Teun van Dijk’s racist discourse studies and Buell and Sigelman’s study of negative electoral campaigns to a wider phenomenon, it is possible to disclose such strategies as de-positivization/de-normalization, de-patriotization, de-personification, de-veracity, de-politization, de-contemporarization, de-intellectualization, de-ability, de-lawfulness, de-independence, de-morality/de-civility, and de-superiority. Data includes the materials from the websites of such diverse political forces as the self-proclaimed communists, nationalists, liberal-democrats, socialists and democrats, as well as the websites of individual political leaders. The thesis aims at disclosing an important aspect of political and inter-group discourse by means of online media within the context of post-Soviet social transformation.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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