Russia and Other Significant Others in Latvian Caricatures


National Identity Cartoons Caricature Latvia Russia European Union Other Stereotypes Mental Border Constructivism

How to Cite

Zhirnova, L. (2021). Russia and Other Significant Others in Latvian Caricatures. Galactica Media: Journal of Media Studies, 3(3), 199-212.


After the collapse of the Soviet Union Latvia faced the need to redefine its national identity in a new international environment. Its elite took a clear Euro-Atlantic course, and the image of Latvia in the public space has been largely defined in contrast to the image of Russia ever since. One of the ways to understand how Latvia sees itself and Russia is analyzing political cartoons. The purpose of the study is to bring out the attributes of Russia as a significant Other in caricatures in national newspapers and analyze how they correspond to the characteristics of Latvia, thus defining the outlines of the mental border between the two. The analysis shows two main sets of ideas associated with Russia in Latvian cartoons: one is power, threat and aggression, and the other is propaganda and lies. Although the genre of caricature is meant to be disrespectful, the comparison with cartoons featuring the EU shows that the cartoonists are much more hostile towards Russia. Latvia has succeeded in distancing itself from Russia mentally and uses its image as an antagonist Other, however the cartoons show lack of national pride and doubt that the country has become a rightful member of the Western world.


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