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Presidential Elections 2018: The Struggle of Putin and Navalny for a Media Agenda

Kazun A. D., Semykina K.
The study analyzes the construction of the network links of Vladimir Putin and Alexei Navalny with various issues of Russian public discussion in the national print media. The theoretical framework is issue ownership theory, according to which political actors have a range of issues that are most strongly associated with them. Ownership by the politician of topics that are perceived as important in the society determines his popularity among the population. In this study, we use the Integrum database, which contains extensive print media archives of approximately 500 Russian magazines and more than 250 national newspapers. We analyze the period from 12.12.2016 to 12.12.2017, i.е., one year after Alexey Navalny's announcement of his intention to participate in the presidential election in 2018. The analysis shows that Putin has more opportunities to form an agenda, as he attracts much more attention from national media than Navalny does. Putin is often mentioned in connection with economic issues and international relations, which attract the attention of the population and are perceived as important, while his activity in these spheres is perceived as successful. Navalny is associated with the issues of corruption, NGOs and civic activism. Corruption is an important topic for Russians, but the low attention of the media to Navalny does not allow him to gain the maximum benefit from owning this story.