Introduction and overview

Nadine Thielemann, Daniel Weiss

Publication: Chapter in book/Conference proceedingChapter in edited volume


Focusing on the Twitter account @sputnikvaccine, the chapter analyses the social media campaign launched for the release of Sputnik V, the Russian anti-Covid vaccine, as an instance of international persuasive communication. It seeks to reveal how the campaign acts as an agent of public diplomacy and projects Russia’s soft power, while also disseminating the country’s strategic narratives (i.e., accounts of its identity, position in the international arena and general geopolitical worldview). The chapter further aims to identify the persuasive mechanisms used to achieve these goals, making particular reference to two concepts: propaganda, understood as a manipulative mechanism, and narrative (now in its customary sense) as a persuasive tool. The chapter describes how a discourse analysis based on open coding of content posted by @sputnikvaccine was used to reconstruct a rescue plot narrative in which Russia / Sputnik V saves humankind from the pandemic. This narrative structure also enables the manipulative construction of an antagonist, consisting of western organizations and corporations, which politicizes the vaccine issue and so obstructs Russia in its mission. In this way, the rescue frame enables several elements of Russian strategic narratives (e.g., Russia as a global player, a polycentric world order) to be referenced.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRemedies against the Pandemic
Subtitle of host publication How politicians communicate crisis management
PublisherJohn Benjamins
Pages 1–17
ISBN (Electronic)9789027249579
ISBN (Print)9789027213990
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

Publication series

SeriesDiscourse Approaches to Politics, Society and Culture


  • Russian Studies, discourse analysis, social media, campaigning, narrative, manipulation

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