Russian-American Relations in the Media Update 1

At this point in my project I have completed the majority of my research analyzing to what extent the perceptions Russians and Americans have of each other has been influenced by the media. My research consists mostly of articles that analyze both Russian and American newspapers, movies, and television. Furthermore, my research is most concentrated in the time periods during and after the Cold War as they have been and continue to be the most tumultuous times in the countries’ histories.

The articles I have read analyze the ways in which the Russian and American film and television industries have utilized propaganda techniques to sway the opinion of the general public. Prior to my research I had never really thought about propaganda being present in the United States and while it is not as overt as was seen in the Soviet Union, there was a clear agenda during the Cold War. The most interesting part of my research so far has been that the adoption of the stereotypical Russian villain went over with almost no backlash from any activist groups in the United States. Additionally, the Cold War left such a bad taste in the mouths of Americans for generations that there has been no correcting of this stereotype decades later.

In my future research I am hoping to find more articles looking at the way historical events were framed to serve the purposes of the two countries. While fictional stories reflect the feelings of the country they are in the end fiction. I hope to find more about the way news organization in both Russia and the United States reported on events of the Cold War and in the post-Cold War era.

My research is also limited in that English is my native language and my Russian language skills are not at the point where I can do much analysis myself. I rely on articles that have analyzed Russian news articles, television shows, and movies for their stereotypes and portrayals of Americans. This has proven to be a challenge as there are much fewer articles about Russian media than there are about American media. Seeing as Hollywood is the dominate force in worldwide media, this is understandable however, it forces my research to be slightly lopsided. While I am continuing to search for articles discussing the portrayal of Americans in Russian media, my project will be primarily focused on the portrayal of Russians in American media and how this has affected perceptions across the board.

Comments

  1. nmcaputo says:

    Hey Maddie, your research sounds fascinating! I had never really realized how prevalent the Russian villain stereotype is in Hollywood movies, even today. The Germans are also often villainized in American cinema as a result of WWII, but I feel like that was a stereotype that I have registered (most memorably in the Indiana Jones franchise) and have consciously contemplated the unfairness of. I think that the fact that Germany is a current ally of the United States while Russia is not contributes to our casual acceptance of anti-Russian stereotypes in popular culture. You’re also right that we almost never consider the U.S. as being a producer of propaganda, but that’s exactly what movies often are. I can’t wait to read your paper!

  2. Hi Maddie,
    Wow, your research topic looks so interesting! I really like how you are trying to get both American and Russian perspectives of your topic, even if it is more challenging to get the Russian perspective. I can’t wait to see what further information you find on that, as I, and probably many people here do not know much about Russian pop culture and propaganda. I actually am looking at some propaganda in my research too, mostly from World War II. While I’m mostly looking at posters used to mobilize the American public during the war whose messages are very prominent and obvious, your research reminds me that propaganda can be present anywhere and can be very subtle, which is often so much more effective because we accept it without really knowing. I do think that our media vilifies Russia to this day, as I know very little positive things about Russia’s government, economy, or society, and quite a few negative things. I am interested to see your specific examples and further analysis on this and hopefully you have some luck looking at more from the Russian perspective. Good luck!

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