PUBLIC DIPLOMACY IN PRACTICE: MANAGING DIVERGENT LOGICS OF COMMUNICATION IN EU-RUSSIA RELATIONS- What role for presidential summits?
Public Diplomacy in Practice:Managing Divergent Logics of Communications in EU-Russian Relations-What role for presidential summits?
This dissertation explores the intricate relationship between European Union (EU) and The Russian Federation (referred to as Russia), through the lens of communication and public diplomacy practices. It sheds light on the question: Why do EU and Russia still lack the setup to map out a joint strategy for managing bilateral communications, despite their mutually acknowledged need to strengthen their comprehensive strategic partnership?. The overall claim is that, although both sides constantly reaffirm their “strong commitment” to an authentic strategic partnership on the axis Brussels-Moscow and to an enhanced bilateral communication, in reality the two actors have always maintained a certain distance in the public sphere and have never stopped perpetuating conflicting narratives on the evolution of their relationship (grounded in divergent vocabularies), while competing for the greatest possible domination of the political communication arena , as part of what appears a wide-ranging competition to sway international policy-making and gain political control when addressing common issues or concerns. In particular, the dissertation draws attention on some of the key distinctive features that typify communication practices in EU-Russian relations, whereby the two actors constantly compete for both access to and influence over the (inter)national media (over international agenda building and frame building as one central strategic activity of their public diplomacy processes). In this sense, it emphasizes the case of presidential summits, presented as a key indicator of a particularly complex relationship between these two partners gradually drifting apart. The assumption is that the “fight”/competition between EU and Russia for the greatest possible domination of the political communication arena (media access and media framing) has alwas been a central element of these events, with both actors realizing that sympathetic media coverage is a prerequisite for political influence. On this point, the thesis identifies various divergent framings in EU and Russian public messages, media statements, discourses and press releases distributed on these occasions, which address common issues or concerns. Temporally, the period between 1998 and 2013 /January 2014 is essential to empirically map EU-Russia interactions in this specific settings and to derive the relevant conclusions. The dissertation speaks to various bodies of literature, as my investigation requires an interdisciplinary approach, while employing various theories and concepts, with emphasis on international relations, communications and public diplomacy. It will hopefully provide a useful baseline for future research and debates as it offers useful insights on the peculiar interplay between public diplomacy and realpolitik dynamics on the international political communication scene. -----------------------------------------------Questo ricerca ha l’obiettivo di indagare ed analizzare alcuni aspetti chiave dei rapporti tra l’Unione Europea (UE) e la Russia, con una particolare attenzione alle dinamiche che riguardano la comunicazione e i canali della diplomazia pubblica negli ultimi decenni. L’analisi affronta alcuni nodi problematici ed ancora irrisolti, concentrandosi su casi ed aspetti specifici, quali per esempio quello dei canali della diplomazia pubblica russa ed europea o del significato dei summit presidenziali UE-Russia. La tesi incrocia vari temi di attualità e dibattiti internazionali attinenti la diplomazia pubblica e al rapporto tra le sue fonti intenzionali e quelle non intenzionali o il dibattito sulle sfide dei rapporti istituzionali UE-Russia.