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«Russian threat» in the French press at the end of the XVIIIth – beginning of the XIXth centuries

Promyslov Nikolai, Prousskaïa Evguenia, Mitrofanov Andrei

   In the period of French Revolution and Napoleonic government many times France and Russia became the enemies on the battlefield as well as in the diplomatic arena, so in France a lot of attention was paid to its northern neighbor in the period of 1789-1814. In this era French governments actively used newspapers to control public opinion both in the country and abroad, as French press of this period was one of the most popular in all corners of Europe. This article is based on a wide range of francophone press of the period 1789-1814, including both Paris press of different orientation, and francophone newspapers of French neighbors, which then fell into the sphere of French influence. The concept of «Russian threat», which had arised in French public consciousness in the XVIIIth century, appeared again on the pages of the press in periods of strained relations between the two states, and disappeared during periods of closer relations and alliances (1800-1804, 1807-1811). The concept of «Russian threat» at the turn of the XVIIIth century was based on representations of Russia, established in literature and philosophy, as well as on extensive pamphleteering journalism. During the period of friendship between Napoleon and Alexander newspapers tried to describe Russia neutrally, but in times of crisis its image acquired many negative features and archetypal stereotypes about Russia and the «Russian threat» revived on the pages of the press again.

Keywords: French press, French revolution, Napoleon, image of the enemy, propaganda.
Link: Promyslov N., Prousskaïa E., Mitrofanov A. «Russian threat» in the French press at the end of the XVIIIth – beginning of the XIXth centuries // Annuaire d'études françaises 2015: 225ème anniversaire de la Revolution française de 1789 / Annual of French Studies 2015 : 225th Annuversary of the French Revolution.М. P. 343-391.