The Ukraine Crisis Reflections in the Speeches of USA and Russian Political Leaders

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Abstract

This paper focuses on the rhetoric of USA and Russian political leaders during the Ukraine crisis by analyzing changes appearing in their speeches during the different stages of the crisis. The goal of the analysis is to investigate the speeches delivered by political leaders of the United States and Russia, being important actors in the Ukraine crisis, by identifying both countries’ attitudes to one another, further intentions regarding the management of the crisis and changes of topics in each stage. The speeches of the following most influential politicians in foreign policy formation in the USA and Russia are analyzed: President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden, President Vladimir Putin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev. The speeches were collected from the official websites of U.S. and Russian government institutions. The analysis revealed that from the beginning of the crisis the main tool in the Ukraine crisis was rhetoric. Western parties began to take real actions only later: sanctions on Russia were imposed, international organizations started to play more active role, ceasefire agreements were signed. In terms of communications strategies used by both countries, the USA rhetoric and its communication strategy as well as Russian leaders were using a combination of proactive and reactive strategies.

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