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New Russophobia Study to Be Commissioned

Propaganda depiction of a barbaric Russian invasion of Europe. Early 19th century, France.

The Russian Ministry of Culture has posted a competition for conducing research into “Russophobia and de-Russification”. According to the TASS Russian News Agency, the Ministry is set to spend 1.9 million rubles ($29,000) on the effort, which will explore the apparent “strengthening of Russophobic discourse both abroad and within Russia as a reaction to the era of the revival of the Russian state”. 

The call by the Ministry invites research proposals destined to produce “practical recommendations on combatting internal and international Russophobia”, and to explore Russophobia both within the Russia, and internationally, and the further impacts on “national interests and national security”. Researchers must also address practical ways to counter Russophobia. The deadline for applications is 25 July.

The documented incidents of apparent Russophobia by the Russian Ministry of Culture have been well documented in recent months. A notable example is the Oscar-nominated film Leviathan (2014, dir. Andrey Zvyagintsev), which was slammed by Minister Vladimir Medinsky as “anti-Russian”. The announcement goes on to explain how increasingly anti-Russian attitudes should be dealt with as a genuine threat to the Russian Federation's national security. According to an RT report, the ministry also suggests "Russia's enemies are targeting not only the Russian people, but also Russia’s history, traditions, and cultural heritage."

Those who enter the competition must present plans to achieve the following objectives:

  • Research the phenomenon of phobias in mass consciousness
  • Determine the place of Russophobia within the system of various phobias known to the world
  • And be able to systemize the internal Russian manifestations of this phenomenon. Researchers must also propose some practical plan to counter Russophobia both inside and outside the country.

The rise in anti-Russian sentiment in western media has become most apparent in the former Soviet allies and constituent republics of the former Soviet Union, which seem now to spearhead the anti-Russian drive in many directions. There is also evidence of a counter-trend on western media and social networks. Many media consumers have classified the constant negative news from Russia, and especially against President Vladimir Putin. The recent Panama Papers incident being the perfect example of how Russian notables were constantly the focus, while  Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko or British PM David Cameron got little or no coverage.