A dramatic change in media coverage of the wars in Chechnya from sharp criticism in 1995 to almost unanimous support in 1999 has at least one consequence and several causes. Both wars were presented by TV news as a series of disconnected actions, which can be easily visualised: separate battles and cases of people’s suffering. This helped to stop the first war, but the disappearing of the visualised actions in the midwar period lead to silencing the Chechen problem. Meanwhile, politicians learned from their mistakes and formed a consistent policy towards the media (which they lacked before). Furthermore, NTV channel, the major source of alternative coverage of the first war, has found itself much more dependent on various external forces after it voluntarily supported the incumbent in the presidential elections in 1996. One of the NTV executives has formulated what can be called the major result of its struggle for independent coverage: With our own hands we have created a monstrous system that gonna eat us.
This article examines extreme-right online media as a site of discursive struggle over definitions of the causes, consequences and remedies of the European economic crisis. The authors focus on two Scandinavian countries, Denmark and Sweden, which have seen a rise in extreme-right activities across different arenas and in different media in the turbulent years since the collapse of global financial markets in 2008. Drawing on a discourse theoretical framework that builds on the work of Laclau and Mouffe (1985), the authors examine how the currently most active and visible extreme-right groups in these two countries understand and respond to the crisis as an opportunity to fuel anti-immigration discourses and prey on sentiments of instability and insecurity in the broader population, using online media to “involve members and supporters in the discursive construction of racism” (Atton 2006, 573). The analysis demonstrates how these groups look to Greece, as the “crisis epicentre”, for culturalist explanations for the Eurozone crisis and to the rise there of Golden Dawn as an inspiration for future mobilisations in Nordic and pan-European coalitions.
Russian elections have been severely compromised by allegations of fraud, which makes public opinion polls an important source of information about popular support for Vladimir Putin and his policies. Putin's high ratings as well as the wide use of polls by his administration suggest that his rule is essentially democratic. This paper challenges this view by discussing the specific conception of democratic representation behind polling practices. Far from being a perfect mode of representation, opinion polls are capable of manufacturing the political reality they represent. The paper demonstrates how Russian authorities use polls to replace referenda and to legitimize the results of elections and thereby exposes the representational machine that turns polls into an efficient tool for governance, maintaining the hegemony and promoting de-politicisation. The distinction between partial and total representation, drawn from Ernesto Laclau's work, serves to illuminate the cases when polls and official election returns actually diverge and shows how the legitimacy of a regime is secured by the politics of representation that leaves a significant part of the Russian population unrepresented.