Culture Ministry orders major study into Russophobia & means to counter it

© Sergey Pyatakov
The Russian Ministry of Culture has announced a tender for research aimed at uncovering attempts to “de-Russify” Russia. The results of the study should also propose methods for countering “Russophobic” media campaigns and other similar propaganda.

The strengthening of Russophobic discourse, both inside and outside of Russia, is a reaction to Russia’s current stage of historical development and national revival. If Russia does not back down in its intentions [to develop further], it is clear that there will be a transition to harsher confrontations and a large increase in Russophobic content in information streams. Our country has to be ready for this,” reads the note attached to the tender offer on the government website.

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The Culture Ministry is ready to spend 1.9 million robles, or about $30,000 on the study.

The explanatory note goes on to explain that increasingly anti-Russian attitudes and the reactions that stem from them should be dealt with as a genuine threat to national security. It says that Russia’s enemies are targeting not only the Russian people, but also Russia’s history, traditions, and cultural heritage.

Those who enter the competition must present plans to achieve the following objectives: research the phenomenon of phobias in mass consciousness, determine the place of Russophobia within the system of various phobias known to the world, and systemize the internal Russian manifestations of this phenomenon. Researchers must also propose some practical plan to counter Russophobia both inside and outside the country.

The deadline for applications is July 25 of this year.

Russian officials and politicians often blame organized anti-Russian campaigns for waves of criticism and clearly biased media coverage of various events. However, in recent years some Western politicians and the common public have also pointed out that reports on Russia’s affairs are often prejudiced or simply rigged.

In particular, after the “Panama files” scandal broke early this year, many commentators noticed that the Western media put Russia and President Vladimir Putin at the top of the headlines, despite the fact that the leaked documents contained no mention of the Russian leader whatsoever, and insinuations that he had connections to shady offshore schemes were nothing but the suppositions of reporters.

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Many readers noted in comments to such articles that it was “tiresome” that Putin was constantly linked with everything, while the mainstream media was ignoring the names of those actually mentioned, like Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko or British PM David Cameron.