Modern Russian Political Media Communication: Cliché In The Cognitive And Discursive Aspects

Abstract

The article examines the features of modern Russian political media communication in the cognitive and discursive aspects. Such concepts as "cliché", "language stamp" and "stamp of consciousness" are revealed. The essence of cliched thinking, linguistic consciousness and individual speech behaviour in modern Russian political media communication are described. The purpose of the study is to establish the specificity of cliche realization in the modern political media discourse in the cognitive and discursive aspects. The functional potential of the cliché is determined. The following main functions of cliches in the modern political media discourse are distinguished: 1) social, 2) mobilization, 3) propaganda, 4) identification, 5) psychological functions. It was established that the functional potential of the cliché has a strong effect in political media communication. The main methods of research are the descriptive-comparative method, the cognitive and discourse analyses, the method of defining, lexical and semantical, stylistic and emotive analyses. For modern communicative political media studies, the question of how information is created, stored, and used and effectively affects the addressee in mass media discourse in various linguistic cultures is recognized as relevant.

Keywords: Cognitive-discursive aspect of communication, cliche, language stamp, Russian political media discourse, stamp of consciousness, slogan

Introduction

The last decades of the 20th and 21st centuries demonstrate transformational processes in Russian politics (Boeva-Omelechko et al., 2019; Zheltukhina et al., 2020), which concern not only the political system, but also political discourse. In modern political media communication, the effect of the addressee on the addressee is to attract the attention of the addressee (Mironova, 2001), as well as to encourage him to purchase the advertised goods voting, i.e., “buy” a politician or political party. This is due to the numerous uses of cliches, their repetition, as well as the change in the most famous cliched phrases. At the end of the 20th century and in the 21st century, the political language of the media is distinguished by the increasing activity of using clichés in order to have an influence on the consciousness of the electorate addressee. Following Krasnykh (1998), we will give definitions to the main concepts: "cliché", "language stamp" and "stamp of consciousness".

Cliche is understood as a ready-made speech formula that regularly appears in certain repeated speech situations (Dridze, 1972), which is an insufficiently exposed complex sign (Sorokin, 1978) due to the possession of signs of insufficiency.

The language stamp is interpreted as a language cliché as an excessively exposed complex sign (Sorokin, 1978) due to the presence of features of completeness, which for some reason lost its primary information load to the interpreter, which became dysfunctional (Dridze, 1972). At the same time, it must be emphasized that the language stamp is recognized as a linguistic phenomenon, and the speech stamp is recognized as a psychological phenomenon (Prokhorov, 1996).

The stamp of consciousness is a component of the mental-linguistic complex of a representative of a certain ethnoculture, expressed by various language/speech constructions or not implemented verbally in each situation of communication, correlated with mental stereotypes inherent in a certain culture (Rogers et al., 2013), and serving as a socio-cultural marker of the specifics of speech communication of its representatives (Prokhorov, 1996).

Cliches as traditional speech turns are not only forcibly superimposed on our language activities, but also shape our thinking, behaviour, and emotions in different linguocuptures (Maslova, 2001). Mass media forms the consciousness of the addressee with the help of cliches (Zijderveld, 1979), and in the conditions of modernization of society inevitably generate new cliches.

Problem Statement

Cliche as a cognitive-discursive feature of modern political media communication has received little attention, and requires a detailed study within the framework of political media linguistics.

Research Questions

We need to discuss 3 main research questions.

  • How do we understand the linguistic phenomenon of cliche??
  • Can we find out any functions of cliche in political media texts in Russian political culture?
  • What are the signs of influence effectiveness in political media communication?

Purpose of the Study

Our research is aimed at revealing of the specifics of cliche realization in the modern political media discourse in the cognitive and discursive aspects.

Research Methods

A systemic approach forms the methodological basis of our research. The purpose of the study is achieved by using of the descriptive-comparative method, the cognitive and discourse analyses, the method of defining, lexical and semantical, stylistic and emotive analyses.

Examples of cliches of the Russian political media discourse act as a material of the research.

Findings

The initial connotation of cliches is linguistic in nature, manifesting itself in too often used statement or sentence with erased semantics. Crossing the boundaries of linguistics, clichés are objectified in a silent gesture (shaking hands, kissing the cheek), an act of strike as a rational and legally organized means in the hands of workers' leaders used to achieve the goals of their trade unions (loss of symbolic significance and acquisition of political functions).

Cliches are characterized by animated nature (preservation of experience, persistence of temporary changes, transmission from generation to generation) and repeatability, which ensures their autonomy in relation to the individual in society.

In the process of analyzing the actual material, it was established that the cliché functions are based on two main principles:

  • on the influence on a person with the elimination of conscious reflection (mechanical reaction);
  • on the repeated repetition of the cliché (stimulus) to turn off thinking during the reaction.

Let us consider the implementation of the main functions of cliches using examples from the modern Russian political media discourse:

1) Social function: repeatability, rationality, and the schematic nature of the use of clichés shows similarities with children's verses and realizes a person's needs for magic (irrelevance of the semantic content of words accompanied by rhythmic movements of the body, the mesmerizing effect of the sounds of words, the rhythm of phrases and body movements).

For example (https://www.rbc.ru/politics/03/03/2020/5e5d335f9a79473137e9b9bc),

Партия тепла и света (СПС, 2003)

(М. Прохоров, выборы Президента РФ, 2012)

(В. Путин, выборы Президента РФ, 2018)

(П. Грудинин, выборы Президента РФ, 2018)

(П. Грудинин, выборы Президента РФ, 2018)

(К. Собчак, выборы Президента РФ, 2018)

Наша страна, наша Конституция, наше решение! (Поправки в конституцию, 2020)

Batch of heat and light (ATP, 2003)

New President - New Russia (Prokhorov, presidential election, 2012)

Strong President - strong Russia (Putin, presidential election, 2018)

Rich people - strong Russia (Grudinin, presidential election, 2018)

People's candidate. People's Choice (Grudinin, presidential election, 2018)

FOR SOBCHAK. FOR TRUTH. FOR FREEDOM (Sobchak, presidential election, 2018)

Our country, our Constitution, our decision! (Amendments to the Constitution, 2020)

2) Mobilizing function: cliches directly affect speech and behavior, affect tendencies, relationships, emotions, moods (voting), encourage you to think, feel and act like a majority. The media language successfully updates the main properties of cliches, such as repeatability and hyperbolicity (deafening of slogans and cliches of politics, metaphorization and metonymization) (Tameryan et al., 2018; 2019a,b). The imaginary informational veracity, naturalness and obvious cliches are not explained by semantics (heuristically unconvincing), but by the repeatability of use (magically convincing) with hypnotizing action. In addition, cliches are characterized by contagion, that is, one cliche gives rise to another.

For example,

Путеводительское. Привет тебе, Барак Хусейн Обама, иль попросту Барак, для простоты. Прости, что я на ты вот так вот прямо. Ты тоже можешь быть со мной на ты. Мы в курсе, что у этих ваших Штатов - куда я скоро в гости соберусь - имеется довольно много штампов насчет страны с названьем кратким Русь. Чтоб ты представил быт далеких россов, я подготовил список из пяти обычно задаваемых вопросов и правильных ответов. Захвати. Где нервы вам империя трепала - сейчас разверзлась черная дыра. У вас о русских судят как попало, а все сложнее раза в полтора… (Д. Быков, Новая Газета, 2009)

Guide. Hey, Barack Hussein Obama, or Barack, for simplicity. I'm sorry I'm on you like this. You can be with me on you, too. We are aware that these of your States - where I will soon gather for a visit - have quite a few stamps about the country called brief Russia. In order for you to present the life of distant Russians, I have prepared a list of five usually asked questions and correct answers. Take. Where the nerves of your empire fluttered - now a black hole has unfolded. You have judged the Russians as having fallen, and it is more and a half more difficult. (Bykov, Novaya Gazeta, 2009)

3) Propaganda function: modern propaganda widely uses the repeated ideological cliches of mankind ("democracy," "free world," "terrorism," etc.). The semantic emptiness of these cliches is functional, since it is used for political fraud (left/right, progressive/reaction) (Zheltukhina, 2003; Zheltukhina et al., 2019).

Illustrative of the foregoing are the following examples (https://www.ikro.ru/interest/vistavkiikro/politicheskiy-pr-i-reklama-na-vyborah-prezidenta-rf/):

Вернем богатства страны народу (Родина, 2003)

Справедливость сегодня или бесправие навсегда! (Яблоко, 2007)

Поманили людей демократизацией, соблазнили плюрализацией.

Урезали страну суверенизацией, обобрали ваучеризацией.

Провели всероссийскую криминализацию.

Совершили секвестризацию и ввели телевизионную памперсизацию.

В повестке дня – деноминация и другие деформаторские махинации.

(Волгоградская Трибуна, 10.1997) (А. Курганников «Сделано демократами…»)

We will return the wealth of the country to the people (Homeland, 2003)

Justice today or disenfranchisement forever! (Apple, 2007)

They remembered people with democratization, seduced them with pluralization.

They cut the country with sovereignty, robbed it with vouchers.

Conducted all-Russian criminalization.

Sequestrated and introduced television diapers.

The agenda includes denominations and other deformatory machinations.

Until when? Until the most patient nation in the world wakes up... (Volgograd Tribune, 10.1997) (Kurgannikov "Made by the Democrats...")

4) Identification function: social control is carried out due to the fact that the meaning and correct use of cliches distinguish the true representative of this collective from people of foreign origin, etc., "their" from "strangers".

This is evidenced by the following examples (https://www.ikro.ru/interest/vistavkiikro/politicheskiy-pr-i-reklama-na-vyborah-prezidenta-rf/):

В Воронеже, как и в России, две главные проблемы. Все здесь сидящие относятся к первой, а дороги – ко второй… Дорог в городе нет. И денег на их ремонт жалеть нечего! (А. Ковалев, мэр Воронежа, Новая Газета, 2002)

Мы не обещаем, мы работаем! (Единая Россия, 2003)

Этой власти – нас не жалко, этой власти – нам не жалко! (И. Хакамада, выборы Президента РФ, 2004)

(Выборы Президента РФ, 2008)

(В. Путин, выборы Президента РФ, 2012)

In Voronezh, as in Russia, two main problems. Everyone sitting here belongs to the first, and the roads to the second... There are no roads in the city. And there is nothing to regret money for their repair! (Kovalev, Mayor of Voronezh, Novaya Gazeta, 2002)

We don't promise, we work! (United Russia, 2003)

This power - we are not sorry, this power - we are not sorry! (Khakamada, presidential election, 2004)

Together we win! (Presidential Election, 2008)

Together to great Russia! (Putin, presidential election, 2012)

5) Psychological function: cliché acts as part of the psychology of everyday life (Freud) and is associated with social passivity. A person who retains his speech and behavior political ideology (Zheltukhina & Zyubina, 2018) has to either abandon the tired cliches of this ideology, or intensify aggression.

Examples are as follows (https://www.ikro.ru/interest/vistavkiikro/politicheskiy-pr-i-reklama-na-vyborah-prezidenta-rf/):

(В. Путин, выборы Президента РФ, 2012)

(Г. Зюганов, выборы Президента РФ, 2012)

(М. Прохоров, выборы Президента РФ, 2012)

(П. Грудинин, выборы Президента РФ, 2018)

(Г. Явлинский, выборы Президента РФ, 2018)

(Сурайкин, выборы Президента РФ, 2018)

(Сурайкин, выборы Президента РФ, 2018)

The Great Country is a strong leader (Putin, presidential election, 2012)

Power and property - to the people! (Zyuganov, presidential election, 2012)

To govern, not to reign! (Prokhorov, presidential election, 2012)

Justice. Homeland. People. (Grudinin, presidential election, 2018)

Believe in the future! Believe in yourself! (Yavlinsky, presidential election, 2018)

Let's get the Country back to the People! (Suraikin, presidential election, 2018)

Let's get the USSR back! (Suraikin, presidential election, 2018)

The power of the clichés of the political language of the media, the clichéd nature of mass communication, the power of influence, and the stupidity of clichés in modern political society are great, but may be limited. The equilibrium between the value and the function can be deliberately maintained and, if necessary, restored (Vikulova & Serebrennikova, 2014). Opportunities for limiting cliches lie in the wider attraction of material from religion, scientific discoveries, socio-political movements, aesthetics, etc.

The slogan as a kind of cliché is a short (like a slogan) statement containing the main idea in a compressed form, an advertising motto, the purpose of which is to induce action, since the internal "Self" of a person requires accurate instructions. The slogan should correspond to a general consumer orientation, a general political advertising topic, be simple, represent a word game, mention the name of the party.

For example,

«Единая Россия» – партия большинства россиян, большинство не может ошибаться

«Единая Россия» – партия тех, кому Крым дороже Куршавеля

Если не «Единая Россия», то кто? Представьте себе Россию под властью любой имеющейся политической оппозиции (Брошюра в ответах на вопрос «Почему «Единая Россия»?», 2016; Konstantinov, 2016).

United Russia is the party of most Russians, the majority cannot be mistaken

United Russia is a party of those to whom Crimea is more expensive than Kurshavel

If not United Russia, then who? Imagine Russia under the rule of any existing political opposition (Pamphlet in answers to the question “Why United Russia?”, 2016; Konstantinov, 2016).

Headers play an important role in the message. A political article, political advertising without a title is completely ineffective. On average, the title, like the advertising slogan, is read five times more often than the text itself. The title should be short and bright, based on the game of words and concepts, images, allusions.

For example,

(Новая газета, 01.06.2018, http://www.zagolovki.ru/bestheaders?page=2) /

Mutko was not immediately built. The one who remains in the government and gets control of a trillion rubles a year laughs well (Novaya Gazeta, 01.06.2018, http://www.zagolovki.ru/bestheaders?page=2 )/Moscow was not immediately built...

(Московский комсомолец, 01.06.2020, http://www.zagolovki.ru/bestheaders?page=2) /

The enemy knows about food. Food that ruins us: the food war of the United States and Russia (Moskovsky Komsomolets, 01.06.2020, http://www.zagolovki.ru/bestheaders?page=2 )/A friend knows in trouble...

(Московский комсомолец, 29.05.2018, http://www.zagolovki.ru/bestheaders?page=2) / Старикам тут не место.

Old people don't have a chair. Then the retired governors of Yakutia and Magadan raped the Kremlin (Moskovsky Komsomolets, 29.05.2018, http://www.zagolovki.ru/bestheaders?page=2) /The old people have no place here = No Country for Old Men

The main criteria for ineffective cliched political advertising are condescension and irrelevance. Also of interest are the slogan headlines/calls used to create comic effects and would-be influences, especially those related to the recent Soviet past.

For example,

Несвобода, неравенство, небратство!

Чубайсу по рубильнику!

Вся власть трудящимся, а не ворам и бандитам!

Президентская артель посадила Русь на мель.

Ни пяди русской земли – ни за доллары, ни за рубли!

Реформы – страшнее бомбы!

Заметем Кремлевское подворье!

Позор лакейской Думе! (ВТ, №17, 26.04.2002)

Lack of freedom, inequality, non-brotherhood!

Chubais on the chopper!

All power to workers, not thieves and bandits!

The presidential artel ran Russia aground.

No poison of Russian land - neither for dollars, nor for rubles!

Reforms are worse than bombs!

Let's note the Kremlin compound!

(BT, No. 17, 26.04.2002)

Долой министров-капиталистов!

За землю, за волю, за лучшую долю!

Реформы Грефа – американцам!

Кабальному Трудовому кодексу Слиски – Шмакова – народный заслон!

Народу – свет и тепло, Чубайсу – электрический стул!

Русь, не трусь – с тобой Молдова и Беларусь!

Кремлевских штрейкбрехеров вон из профсоюзов!

Олигархи! Руки прочь от оборонки, энергетики и железных дорог!

Изобилие – в доме, а не в магазине!

Вместе мы – сила! Вместе – победим! (П, №42, 16-17.04 2002)

Down with the capitalist ministers!

For the land, for the will, for the best share!

Gref's reforms are Americans!

The Bonded Labor Code Sliski - Shmakova - a national barrier!

People - light and warmth, Chubaysu - electric chair!

Russia, don't coward - Moldova and Belarus are with you!

Kremlin strikebreakers out of trade unions!

Oligarchs! Hands off defense, energy and railways!

Abundance - in the house, not in the store!

Together we are power! Together - we will win! (P, NO. 42, 16-17.04 2002)

In implementing influence, the political media addressee uses two main ways of influence: open (impose and break) and hidden management, involving disagreement with the proposed (manipulate). For example, if you try to predict the reaction of the addressee, then the result is that he will answer both statements "yes", considering that he will answer the second question "yes" on the machine, by inertia, since illogicity is not recorded in the mind. The call to action is not implemented annoyingly, but with a hint, since questions are immediately answered, which allows the addressee to establish himself in his own answer. The addressee begins to perceive his response in the same way as the proposed option in the figure 1. In addition, a picture helps where the slogan about the work associated with a broom in the hands of a man in a cap, very similar to the mayor of Moscow Luzhkov, that is, the authorities that work:

Мы не обещаем. Мы работаем!

We don't promise. We're working!

Figure 1: Election of deputies of the State Duma of the Russian Federation 2003 (https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/3076638)
Election of deputies of the State Duma of the Russian Federation 2003
      (https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/3076638)
See Full Size >

To achieve the effectiveness of the influence of mass media on the consciousness of voters, it is necessary to investigate the structures of knowledge that the addressee creates about political and other figures. The theoretical basis for studying these cognitive structures will be the theory of semantic processing of mass media, the theory of cognitive scheme and the semiotic theory of the study of political advertising and its effects (Faber, 1992; Jamieson & Campbell, 1997 etc.). The metaphorization and imagery of political advertising materials allows the political media addressee to successfully achieve impact on the electorate. For example, in the Figure 2:

Figure 2: Logos of the Unity and Fatherland - All Russia Movements (https://www.nsk.kp.ru/daily/27062.7/4130142/)
Logos of the Unity and Fatherland - All Russia Movements
      (https://www.nsk.kp.ru/daily/27062.7/4130142/)
See Full Size >

In this example, an allusion is proposed to the proverb "Live with wolves - in a wolf way," i.e., suffer, and the opposition to the wolf - a bear in the costume of a wrestler who personifies strength, power, courage that can protect the addressee. In addition, a rhetorical question is applied that separates the two parts of the proverb, the second part of which immediately appears in the consciousness of a native speaker of the Russian language, providing a choice: either live well with bears or live poorly with wolves!

Conclusion

Let us summarize the results of the study. The consideration of cliches in cognitive and discursive aspects in the Russian political media discourse made it possible to establish that mass media exploit the mythological essence of human consciousness, relying on emotionally affective and conditionally symbolic images when transmitting information through the use of cliches and stamps. It has been established that mass media deliberately spread various rumours, pseudo-arguments and lies in order to influence people's feelings, emotions, moods and behavior, implement the function of evaluation and criticism, instead of exposing lies and rumours. The media successfully and on a global scale create and broadcast rumours, actively use stamps, cliches, pseudo-arguments. At the same time, involuntarily, and most often deliberately, the media achieve their goals, affecting the psyche and behavior of a person.

The analysis of the actual material demonstrated the fact that the cliché of modern political media communication allows us to openly or veiled form our ideas about the world. Mass media create our social and political world. This is the basis of our knowledge about politics, economy, culture, etc., and subsequent behavior in this area, will through voting, our choice. This role is unlikely to change in the coming centuries due to the fact that, together with technological progress, the speed, quantity and quality of information sent by the addressee and perceived by the addressee (newspapers, magazines, radio, television, the Internet) changes, the degree of influence of mass media is increased by interpreting events, transforming the transmitted information. In this regard, the problem under consideration is of research interest for the study of related phenomena in the future, including in different types of discourse and in various linguistic cultures.

Acknowledgments

The reported study was funded by RFBR and MES RSO according to the research project № 20-512-07003.

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Zheltukhina, M. R., & Tameryan, T. Y. (2021). Modern Russian Political Media Communication: Cliché In The Cognitive And Discursive Aspects. In & V. M. Shaklein (Ed.), The Russian Language in Modern Scientific and Educational Environment, vol 115. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 554-565). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.09.61