Frames and images facing Ukraine: comparing Germany's and Russia's media perceptions of the EU relations with Ukraine
The recent EU-Ukraine Summit in July 2018 demonstrated that the leaders of the EU and Ukraine have committed to further deepen the political association and economic integration of Ukraine with the EU. Yet, this “strong partnership,” based on a joint association agreement, has been overshadowed by Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and its instigation of the war in Donbas. Given that Ukraine is an important geopolitical neighbour for both the EU and Russia, the EU and its Member States – especially Germany and France – have taken on the role of mediators in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The focus of our study is on the image of the EU-Ukraine relationship as a unique and outstanding case. Ukraine’s close ties with Russia appear to be waning, however, the more Ukraine tries to strengthen its ties with the EU, the more Russia seems to resist. In this regard, we ask: How are the relationships between the EU and Ukraine are represented in German and Russian print media? How do the print media sources frame this relationship and what different images do they communicate? The content analysis of data draws diverging pictures: within the same period, the patterns of interaction between the EU and Ukraine, evolving within European Neighbourhood Policy and Eastern Partnership, tend to be depicted as far more cooperative in the German press, whereas Russia’s print media portray EU-Ukraine relations as increasingly negative and more conflicted over the years.
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