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Media Construction of LGBT Prides in Russia: Framing Dynamics and Frame Resonance

The article analyses representation of LGBT-movement activity, namely Saint Petersburg LGBT prides, in Russia. Framing theory, which views the media as an arena in which groups of interest promote their frames, or interpretations of the discussed issue, is used. Frames juxtapose elements of the text in such a way as to provide the audience with a scheme to perceive the message. Social movements are viewed as a group of interest that introduces new frames in the public deliberation. Two types of frames can be distinguished, namely collective action frames and status quo frames. In this study, usage of two collective action frames were examined (equality frame and victim frame), and two status quo frames (morality frame and propaganda of homosexuality). Additionally, the sources of quotes used in news stories were analyzed. The study focuses on articles dedicated to Saint Petersburg LGBT prides in years 2010-2017 in the most popular local Internet websites. The analysis shows that the coverage of LGBT prides can be divided into two distinct periods: 2010–2013 and 2014–2017. In the first period, LGBT activists dominated the coverage, quoted about twice more actively than government officials. Equality and victim frames were prevalent. In the second period, activists were cited significantly less often, with the propaganda of homosexuality frame dominating in the discourse. However, contrary to findings of previous studies on social movement representation, across the whole period under consideration LGBT activists were quoted more actively than government representatives. This finding calls for further exploration of the conditions which allowed for such coverage in the context of political heterosexism and homophobia.