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Media, Power, and Protest in Russia


Admission requirements

This elective course is exclusively for students of the Minor Disinformation and Strategic Communication in Global Media. For this course, no language skills other than English are required to work with the study materials.


The regional electives in block 1 and 2 focus on information dissemination and power structures in local media landscapes.

In this regional elective, students will familiarize themselves with the contemporary Russian media landscape and learn to assess both the reliability of and trust in different media platforms and sources. Using a case-study approach, we will analyze the profound changes that the Russian media landscape is currently undergoing and place this development in a historical perspective.

Imposing restrictions and censorship have a long history in Russia. After a short phase of relative media freedom in the 1990s and early 2000s, this process has accelerated again since the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and especially since the start of Russia’s war in Ukraine on 24 February 2022. The increasingly tightly controlled Russian media landscape has led to the creation of a parallel world with its own version of truth. Students will gain insight into the ways in which both language and images are instrumentalized in large-scale disinformation and propaganda campaigns that are used by the Kremlin and social groups loyal to the state to legitimize and gain support for the invasion and, ultimately, for nation-building purposes. However, we will also look at the loopholes and possibilities that some journalists, human rights activists, and individuals still find to put forward different narratives and world views.

As the long-term development of the current Russian media landscape remains yet unclear, students will have the chance to do state-of-the-art research on a media environment undergoing a rapid and severe transformation. They will learn to work with methodological tools such as multimodal discourse analysis, media framing analysis, affect analysis and quantitative text analysis to dissect the relationship between power, media, and dissent in today’s Russia.

Course objectives

By the end of this course, participants will have acquired:

  • insight into the development of the contemporary Russian media landscape;

  • the ability to critically reflect on the use of different forms of contested information for nation-building purposes in Russia;

  • an in-depth understanding of the interrelationship between power, media, and dissent in Russia;

  • methodological skills to assess and analyze the reliability of and trust in different media platforms and forms of information in Russia.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar.

Assessment method

Assessment and Weighing

  • Regular course assignments and oral participation: 40%

  • Final paper: 60%

Regular, punctual attendance, thorough preparation of the reading materials, and active participation in plenary discussions are also expected.

Attendance is compulsory. Missing more than one tutorial means that students will be excluded from the tutorials. Unauthorized absence also applies to being unprepared, not participating and/or not bringing the relevant course materials to class.

End Grade

To complete the final mark, both the weighted average as well as the grade for the final paper must be >5,5.


A resit is only possible for the final paper.

Retaking a passing grade

Please consult the Course and Examination Regulations 2022 – 2023.

Exam review and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organised.

Reading list

Reading materials will be made available on Brightspace.


Enrolment through My Studymap is mandatory.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Arsenaal.


Not applicable.