Contested Memory: How Stalin is Framed by Contemporary Russian Media
The article discusses the ways the personality of Joseph Stalin was framed in the Russian media from February 2011 o February 2021. The data corpus was collected from the “Medialogia” media database using keyword searches. As a result of the framing analysis of the relevant media messages, four dominant types of Stalin’s personality framing were revealed: positive, negative, ambivalent, and corrective (devoted to the fight with myths about Stalin). Positive and negative ways of framing are used in the publications throughout the entire analysed period, while ambivalent and corrective appear in 2016–2017 only and show a slight shift toward more positive coverage of J. Stalin’s personality. Positive and negative framing are shown in a case study in a more detailed way. The case concerns the media coverage of the results of a public opinion poll conducted in 2019 by the Levada Center on the attitude of Russians towards Stalin. The analysis of this case shows that, despite the predetermined negative assessment of Stalin’s personality in the poll itself, media platforms can present positive framing to the audience. At the same time, the neutral transmission of information is used in some of the analysed texts, which shows avoiding evaluative framing in some publications. The article discusses framing devices used to achieve the necessary tone of the coverage.