Anastasia Kriachko Roeren - Research School on Peace and Conflict

Anastasia Kriachko Roeren

University of Oslo

Anastasia Kriachko Roeren

Documenting the nation: Documentaries as discursive nation-building tools

My dissertation explores the Russian ​nation-building process as an everyday practice, and TV documentary films as a specific tool of constructing national identity in Russia. TV documentary films officially became a tool of state national policies and unofficially an authoritative audiovisual representation of the Russian nation during Vladimir Putin’s third presidential term. The dissertation investigates the role of the TV documentaries in the Russian nationhood and encompasses two sub-questions: the way they represent and depict the Russian nation and therefore shape the current attempts at nation-building; and the way they influence and shape the common understanding among a broad populace of the nation in Russian contemporary nation-building. I argue that even though there are particular patterns and strategies of constructing national identity, there is no authoritative definition of a Russian nation. Therefore, TV documentaries are a part of this unaccomplished process of nation-building, incorporating new national identity markers in response to international or national events. I conceptualize documentaries as an authoritative source of information, which composes reality and is widely used in the citizens’ mobilization and politics. The dissertation refers to the issues of propaganda and disinformation, the genre of TV documentary as a political tool, the tension between film makers who are creating a piece of art and TV producers who are looking for the product which will have a higher rating. The paper reveals that Russian TV documentary films testify and document such aspects of nationhood as exclusiveness of Russia, its Orthodoxy, its nature and others as a tribute to us(Russians). ​