Russia’s foreign policy priority

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Methodological papers are tasteless and boring without nice examples. For an exemplary application of my Newsmap, I downloaded all the news stories published by ITAR-TASS news agency from 2009 to 2014 both in English and Russian.

From a public diplomacy point of view, I was interested in which countries are receiving the highest coverage in the Russian official news agency’s English service. In my analysis, over 660,000 stories were classified according to their geographical news coverage, and volumes of English news stories were compared with the Russian counterparts for each country to produce English-Russian ratios.

The result of the analysis was striking: the ratios clearly reflects Russia’s foreign policy priority last few years. The significantly high ratios were found in Ukraine, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Belarus. If those countries are plotted by year, it is even more interesting. Ukraine (UA) is high in 2008 and 2014, corresponding to the gas price dispute and the revolution; Geogia (GE) is important after the war but rapidly falls down; Kyrgyzstan’s (KG) ratio sharply increases in 2010 because of the revolution; Kazakhstan (KZ) and Belarus (BY) have similar patterns in 2009-2014 and their peaks are in 2011 because they increased economic partnership with Russia in 2011 that resulted in a Single Economic Space.
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