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17 Apr, 2008 21:09

Russia through the eyes of the world's press

As a country that plays an important role in world politics, Russia draws a lot of media coverage. LexisNexis, a company which runs an archive of printed sources has carried out an analysis of Russian stories in the world press over a two-week period.

Around 37,000 printed news sources from more than 100 countries published in 23 different languages were scanned, ranging

from the world’s leading newspapers, such as the Financial Times and Washington Post to the regional press in various countries.

Among the countries that give a lot of column inches to Russia are the U.S., Britain and France. Almost 30 per cent of articles about Russia published in America were devoted to the recent NATO Summit in Bucharest. In the French press the ratio was 20 per cent.

The second most popular Russian topic in the American and British media was energy security. Gazprom, TNK BP, Lukoil and Rosneft were the most mentioned. LexisNexis said it was because these countries depend on Russia’s oil and gas, while in France, which uses more nuclear energy, Russia’s natural resources were less discussed.

Other key issues were Russia's investment climate and its ambition to enter the WTO. As for the tone of stories about Russia among different countries, neutral stories were more numerous than positive or negative ones.

Russia's image in Spain’s mass media was more negative than positive. Nick West, LexisNexis Strategy Director, explained this tendency.

“Most of the negative coverage focused on tensions between Russia and the U.S. about missile shields in Europe and Russian pressure on NATO not to admit Ukraine and Georgia. Apparently, Spain is taking a pro-U.S. stance,” West said.

Another NATO member, Italy, doesn’t cover Russian stories through the prism of its relations with the alliance. The Italian press focuses on energy and investment in Russia and gives the most positive take on the country.