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Article

«Воображаемая геополитика» в российском медийном дискурсе о коронавирусе

The images of countries in the news of Russian media about the COVID-19 pandemic in the context of popular critical geopolitics were analyzed in the article. 465 texts of the Russian media (01.01.2019 - 03.20.2020) were identified based on the keyword “coronavirus” and processed using computer linguistics. For the eastern countries (China, Iran, South Korea and Japan) and the western (USA, Italy, Spain, France), as well as for “Russia”, semantic fields were reconstructed. Based on the analysis of semantic fields, the images of countries facing a pandemic were interpreted. It turned out that they write about the east in the context of a border beyond which there is a danger of infection. The image of the eastern countries in the news about the coronavirus is consistent with the prevailing media images of the east as a distant and little-known geopolitical space. The media discourse on the pandemic in China contains people and viruses as storytelling actors, which, according to the author of the article, may indicate the preservation of the outdated strategy of “demonization” of China (as a habitat for the infection).

Western countries in the media discourse on coronavirus are lined up in a hierarchy. The United States and France receive a personified representation directly related to their political leaders. Ordinary people suffering from coronavirus disappear in the US pandemic media discourse. All media attention is focused on President Trump. The image of the United States is constructed as an image of a hegemonic country. The image of France is semantically one of the most complex and ambivalent. The image of Spain is being reconstructed through the suffering of people in a pandemic, as well as through the participation of the state in protecting citizens from the infection. The image of Italy is constructed as the image of a close, sympathetic and vulnerable country.

Russia in the discourse of Russian media at the initial stage of the pandemic is being constructed as a resisting (not infected) territory. It turns out that the geopolitical media discourse in a pandemic preserves the most typical intentions.