Flemming Splidsboel Hansen
(f. 1968), PhD, er forskningskoordinator på Forsvarsakademiet. Nyeste publikationer inkluderer «The Moscow Patriarchate and the Right to Conscientious Objection» (Religion, State & Society 2009) og «Ruslands nye identitet og forhold til Vesten» (Politik 2010).
Danish images of Russia in the 2000sIn this survey of the editorial columns of five leading Danish newspapers on Russia in the 2000s, it is found that, over all, there is a relatively high degree of uniformity in the evaluations of the staff of the respective newspapers. All five newspapers find that political conditions in Russia have worsened throughout the decade and that former president Vladimir Putin has in effect established an authoritarian regime in the country. Putin is criticised for centralising power, rigging elections and silencing the media, as well as for violating civil liberties – all to further the interests of the state. The last-mentioned process, it is claimed in the editorials, is epitomised by the war in Chechnya, which helped Putin win the presidency. There is some variation across the editorials in assigning blame for the war, but they all agree that the use of military force has been disproportional to the challenge posed by the Chechens. In terms of foreign policy, these Danish newspapers see the development of an aggressive line of action. For some this is merely a sign that Russia is returning to its old imperialistic self, while others believe that the West has to take some of the blame, e.g. by imposing its post-Cold War will on Russia. All agree, however, that we will see more confrontation in the time to come.
Keywords: authoritarianism, Chechnya, editorials, identity, Russia, transformation