Special issues:

1. Natalia Chaban, Henrietta Mondry, and Evgeny Pavlov (eds.) (2019-2020) Special Issue. 30 Years after the breakup of the USSR:Russia and post-Soviet Europe, narratives and perceptions New Zealand Slavonic Journal, volume 53-54 Available at: https://www.canterbury.ac.nz/arts/schools-and-departments/russian/nz-slavonic-journal/accordion/latest-issue/nzsj53-54.pdf

List of publications

Natalia Chaban, Henrietta Mondry, Evgeny Pavlov, 30 Years after the Breakup of the USSR: Russia and Post-Soviet Europe, Narratives and Perceptions. Special Issue Introduction

Vineta Kleinberga, Elizabete Vizgunova, Strategic Alignment: Latvian Media Narratives on Russia in the Context of Post-Maidan Ukraine

Pauline Sophie Heinrichs, Agency and the Strategic Negotiation of Futures: Evidence from Latvia

Vlad Vernygora, Elizaveta Belonosova, A Modern Empire and its Public Diplomacy: On Russia’s Communication with Estonia

Iana Sabatovych, Do Attitudes towards Russia Matter in the Course of Europeanisation? Analysing Perceptions of Youth in Post-Madain Ukraine

Gintaras Šumskas, Portraying Russia in Lithuanian Internet Media. The Supply and Demand Side

Natalia Chaban, Svitlana Zhabotynska, Anatoliy Chaban, Visual and Emotive: Russian E-news Coverage of Ukraine’s No-visa Entry into the EU

Šarūnas Liekis, Viktorija Rusinaitė, Russian Foreign Policy Narratives of Grey Zones

Henrietta Mondry, Evgeny Pavlov, Russia’s Futures, from Fairy Tales and Editorials to Kremlin Narratives: Prokhanov, Dugin, Surkov

2. Chaban, N. P. Heinrichs, A. Miskimmon, B. O’Loughlin (eds.) (2021) Special Issue ‘Reimagining Europe: Youth narratives and perceptions. in Ukraine and the Baltic States”: Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of PostSoviet Democratization, 29 (4), first online

List of publications

More publications:

Chaban, N. and Whitten, L. (forthcoming 2021) “Youth Perceptions of the EU and the Baltic States in Ukraine: Emotive Attitudes and Images”, European Foreign Affairs Review 26(4)

Kasper and V. Vernygora (2021) “The EU’s cybersecurity: A strategic narrative of a cyber power or a confusing policy for a local common market”, Deusto Journal of European Studies, 65, 29-71. https://research.ulapland.fi/en/publications/the-eus-cybersecurity-a-strategic-narrative-of-a-cyber-power-or-a


Conference papers

Conference panels:

UACES 2019 Panel.Youth Opinion and Opportunities for EU Public Diplomacy: Youth Narratives and Perceptions of the EU in Ukraine and the three Baltic States


About the panel

Pre-Organised Panel (ID: 504 )
Research Themes: External Relations & Foreign Policy, International Relations
Keywords: perceptions, narratives, EU-Ukraine relations, EU Baltic states, youth opinion

Chair(s): Patrick Müller (University of Vienna, Austria)

Discussant(s): Hila Zahavi (Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel)

This panel seeks to discuss and reflect on EU foreign policy with a focus on EU relations and processes with Ukraine – a neighbouring society traumatised by conflict. Contributions to the panel explore a range of narratives and perceptions of the EU, Ukraine’s European orientation and EU-Ukraine relations – focusing on the three EU cases of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The Baltic states occupy a special place in Ukraine’s images of European integration and Ukraine’s European path.

Contributions to the panel focus on a comprehensive analysis of youth opinion (tertiary and secondary level students) in Ukraine and the EU (three Baltic states). The focus on youth perceptions and narratives of projection and reception in the study of EU-Ukraine relations provides a sense of how educated young individuals – future leaders and voters – situate current events and actors within history and, and therefore a more powerful explanation of youth expectations and aspirations for the future course of events. Show-casing theoretical, methodological and empirical innovations, the panel compares “outside-in” vs. “inside-out” views, adding to the understanding of EU foreign policy in the context of the ongoing violent conflict which threatens the EU’s eastern edges.

The panel presented results of the Jean Monnet Project E-YOUTH (Erasmus+ action, 2018-2020). It is convened by Professor Natalia Chaban, Jean Monnet Chair and E-YOUTH leader.

Presented papers
Negotiating global uncertainty, identity and Europeanisation: An examination of youth narrative processes between Ukraine and the three Baltic states

Iana Sabatovych1Pauline Heinrichs2
1University of Canterbury, NZ, 2Royal Holloway University of London, UK

A changing, uncertain international order constitutes an ‘important theme’ (Miskimmon et.al., 2011) for how actors make sense of their strategic relationships with other partners and the future of these relationships. Times that are narrated as a crisis of the liberal democratic order (see Ikenberry, 2018) create implications for how international actors make sense of themselves and others. We argue that little attention has been paid to how the global narration of uncertainty influences narratives and visions of the future among the general public. Here, we focus on young people in epicentres of geopolitical uncertainty such as Ukraine, because young people attest to various visions of the future of the international order. This paper explains how local narratives help young people to make sense of globally narrated uncertainty in reference to their identity. Since identity shapes the sense of a common world, it may provision meaning to global uncertainty and thus affects the construction of strategic relationships between Ukraine and other international actors. This paper analyses the narrative processes between Ukraine and three such international actors (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia). Building its strategic relationship with the EU, Ukraine counterbalances the geopolitical uncertainty posed by Russia (and the narrative of Slavic brotherhood) and pressure for Europeanisation (and the narrative of the return to Europe). The three Baltic states are considered as leading the example of Europeanisation. This paper accordingly incorporates global context and historical considerations in the analysis of strategic communication across national, European, and global levels of negotiations of uncertainty and future.


Friends, supporters and allies? Narratives and Framing of the three Baltic states in Ukrainian e-news portals

Natalia Chaban, Viktor Velivchenko
University of Canterbury, NZ

Applying a novel IR’s theory of strategic narrative (Miskimmon et al. 2013) to EU foreign policy studies, this paper traces narratives on systemic, identity and issue levels, situating them within the projection and reception phases of the narrative cycle argued by the theory. The paper explores media and audience narratives in Ukraine on the three Baltic states – Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia – in the context of EU-Ukraine relations. Innovatively synergizing IR’s strategic narratives theory with communication studies’ cascading activation framing theory (Entman 2004), our paper asks if the three Baltic states are framed by Ukrainian online news media and perceived by the audience (youth) as role-models in post-Soviet transformation; advocates and supporters of Ukraine’s European orientation; and/or Ukraine’s allies within the EU in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Ultimately, the paper explores the narrative of an ‘ally/friend’ (typically overlooked in favour of the ‘enemy/adversary’ narrative) and aims to contribute to the theoretical and methodological discussions on role of positive emotions in the information flow and perception formation on foreign policy and international relations Conclusions contribute to the discussion on EU public diplomacy and media literacy as a pivotal issue in the region, specifically in the context of Russian ‘infowar’.


EU message to Ukraine. What can we learn from the Baltic Youth contribution to the EU Public Diplomacy

Šarūnas Liekis1, Vlad Alex Vernygora2, Gintaras Šumskas1, Elizabete Vizgunova3
1Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania, 2Tallinn Technical University, Estonia, 3Latvian Institute for International Affairs, Latvia

The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) has been informed by the EU’s objective to avoid “the emergence of new dividing lines” between the EU and its immediate neighbourhood. However, a set of destructive narratives and misperceptions may irreversibly damage the ENP’s operational effectiveness in the EaP, and Ukraine specifically. The paper will discuss differences and commonalities between the perceptions and narratives on the EU-Ukraine relations in the three Baltic states, which may facilitate or challenge the work of the Baltic diplomats, politicians and civil society who try to promote, establish and maintain a higher level of interconnectedness between the EU and Ukraine. The three Baltic states – Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia — occupy a special place in Ukraine’s images of European integration and Ukraine’s European path. The Baltic states, for a number of reasons, causes, and contexts have a special geo-strategic rationale towards Ukraine. The paper will apply IR’s theory of strategic narrative (Miskimmon et al., 2013) to EU foreign policy studies to measure the impact of the EU messages about the EaP (and Ukraine specifically) on youth in the three EU Baltic states. The study employs an innovative mixed (QL and QN) method with a range of instruments (semi-qualitative surveys and Q Sort focus groups) to explore youth opinion (tertiary and secondary level students) in the three Baltic states — and among key-informants — and to draw conclusions


Understanding the formation and reception of foreign policy narratives of the EU and Russia in the Baltic States and Ukraine

Alister Miskimmon1Ben O’Loughlin2
1Queen’s University Belfast, UK, 2Royal Holloway University of London, UK

This paper develops the growing field of EU narrative research (e.g. Manners and Murray 2016) through a comparative study of differences in narrative projections in the EU’s Eastern neighbourhood that allows for an explanation of the likely effects of EU public diplomacy. We examine the reporting of the European Union and Russia in news media in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine. Taking a narrative approach, we focus on how the EU and Russia are presented and what future relationships are envisaged. The paper will also present findings of audience research carried out in the four countries to understand how citizens respond to media narratives. The third aspect of the paper will reflect on EU public diplomacy efforts in the neighbourhood and consider how the EU might craft a strategic narrative to align with how citizens imagine their futures.

More papers:

Chaban, N., D. Matheson, L.J. Kenix, “Ukraine through a Baltic Lens Operationalising links between images, frames and narratives in IR”, NZ Political Science Association Conference, University of Canterbury, NZ, November 2019.

Chaban, N. and O. Otradnova, “The EU is a human rights advocate: Perceptions and Narrative in the digital age”, Kharkiv International Legal Forum, Panel discussion “Human Rights at time of the digital transformation of societies:  current challenge, global trends and main point in implementation”, Ukrainian National Law University, 24 September, 2021.

Chaban, N. and Whitten, L. (2020) “Youth Perceptions of the EU and the Baltic States in Ukraine: Emotive Attitudes and Images”, COST International Virtual Symposium “Changing Europe in the Changing World: The EU in the Eyes of EU Neighbours” 5-6 July 2020.

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