Legitimisation of Russia's special foreign policy operations: strategic narratives of Russian officials
The article presents the results of an analysis of the strategic narratives of the President of Russia and representatives of the Russian Foreign Ministry in substantiating Russian military operations abroad. The analysis was carried out on the example of the military operation in Georgia (2008), special operation in Crimea (2014), Crimea joining Russia, and the military operation in Syria (since 2015). The justification for military operations was mainly carried out by the president and representatives of the Russian Foreign Ministry. The justification for military operations was intended to legitimize the military actions and decisions of the Russian Federation. Officials used strategic, national and issue narratives. The core of the justification was the interpretation of historical memory and the description of the actions of Western countries as contrary to international law. We show that the justification for Russia's military operation in Georgia differed from that of the Crimea joining Russia, and the military operation in Syria. In the first case, Russian officials blamed Western countries for illegitimate actions to a lesser extent than in the case of justifying the Crimea joining Russia, and the military operation in Syria. Also, after 2017, Russian actors began to use narratives about the humanitarian role of Russia.