Sense-making of conflicting political news among Baltic Russian-speaking audiences

Triin Vihalemm (Coresponding Author), Jānis Juzefovičs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This article offers a theoretically explained model for analysing the strategies of vernacular sense-making used by transnational audiences in times of political disagreement. The analysis proceeds from the findings of earlier studies that reveal that audience members interpret news in a geopolitically indoctrinated manner despite their exposure to alternative information from geopolitically opposing sources and their general critical stance towards the objectivity of the media in political conflicts. The authors of this qualitative study among Latvian and Estonian Russian-speaking audiences explain how geopolitical convictions are (re)established through interpretations of news reports about politically conflicting events involving Russia vs. Western states. The results reveal that despite of the widespread scepticism and mistrust towards media organizations, the members of audiences strive for independence in their sense-making. In general, there are no signs of a degradation of deliberation as an ideal among the audiences. Nevertheless, the use of moral-cultural heuristics and the search for ‘authentic’ information from personal networks contributes to the enduring hegemony of Russian geopolitical narratives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-275
Number of pages23
JournalNational Identities
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Estonia
  • identity
  • Latvia
  • media
  • popular geopolitics
  • reception
  • Russians

Field of Science*

  • 5.8 Media and Communication

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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