“Russian Bear” in the Spanish-Language Media Discourse

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The article examines the role of the bear metaphor in the Spanish-language political discourse. The relevance of the study is due, firstly, to the intensification of cooperation between Russia and Latin American countries, the effectiveness of which can be influenced by stereotypes and political symbols. Secondly, the growing popularity of the use of zoomorphic metaphors by the mass media. One of the unofficial symbols of Russia, which is often addressed by both traditional media and social media, is the bear. The “Russian Bear” metaphor is now widely used in both Russian and foreign periodicals and cartoons. The purpose of this research is to identify the specifics of the representation of the image of Russia as a bear in the Ibero-American political mass-media discourse. The source for the analysis is a Spanish-language media discourse (cases: the 2014 Ukrainian crisis, the Venezuelan crisis, Russia’s military operation in Syria, Russia’s interference in the elections in Mexico). The scientific novelty of the study is that for the first time in the Russian-language scientific literature, the features of the use of the bear metaphor by Latin American media and social media are examined. The author concludes that the metaphor “Russian Bear” is used both in the internal political symbolic struggle and in the foreign policy discourse. The specifics of the use of the bear metaphor in Latin America are mainly determined by political orientations: for example, the left traditionally considers Russia as an ally, appealing to such meanings of the bear metaphor as strength, justice, and the ability to become a defender against aggressors. In turn, their opponents use a bear metaphor to label left-wing politicians as traitors to the national interest. In this context, the image of a Bear serves as a symbolic border guard. The bear metaphor can be used to create an image of an ally and defender, as well as an enemy. The Ibero-American media turn to the bear metaphor mainly in the headlines and subheadings of materials devoted to Russian foreign policy, which allows them to draw readers’ attention to the topic under consideration.

About the authors

Liudmila L. Kleshchenko

The Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia

Author for correspondence.
Email: ludmila.popova2011@yandex.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4172-6583

PhD of Political sciences, Senior lecturer of the Department of the Political science of the Institute of History and Social Sciences

191186, Russian Federation, Saint Petersburg, Moika river embankment, 48 building 20


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Supplementary files

Supplementary Files
1. Fig. 1. Caricature of Lopez Obrador and Vladimir Putin, milenio.com

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2. Fig. 2. Caricature of Nicolas Maduro and Vladimir Putin, elmundo

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3. Fig. 3. Caricature of Nicolas Maduro, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, elcomercio.pe

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4. Fig. 4. Putin and the Bear, www.elespanol.com

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5. Fig. 5. Caricature of Nicolas Maduro and Vladimir Putin, Chinocaricatura

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6. Fig. 6. Putin, the bear and the vaccine, adncuba.com

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7. Fig. 7. Cartoon image of Barack Obama and Russia*bear, JesusRzPCM

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8. Fig. 8. Cartoon image of Barack Obama and Russia*bear, Durango Telegraph

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Copyright (c) 2021 Kleshchenko L.L.

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