To some extent, Russian perceptions of the EU exist due to a lack of understanding of the EU as an entity, lack of qualitative research on the EU and its institutions and the language barrier that does not allow Russian-speaking researchers to collaborate with the EU academia. Russia has difficulty in understanding the EU because the EU does not speak in a single voice and is not a coherent actor . The Russian officials need a better understanding of who speaks for the EU in political matters.  

Main Gaps

Firstly, there is a lack of comprehensive qualitative academic research that would increase the interest in the EU among Russia’s academics and youth. It is suggested that in order to develop Russia’s existing research on the EU further, actions on both Russia’s and the EU sides are required. On the EU side, the EU needs to be clearer with Russia about what it is and how it can contribute to international relations, if it is to become a truly influential intergovernmental organization. On the Russia’s side, provision of financial support to the universities, think tanks and research centres is required. This would enable a more thorough understanding of the EU in Russia. Secondly, there is a lack of studies on the perceptions of the EU among Russia’s particular influential groups, such as political elites. Academia in Russia frequently feels that they cannot enjoy political independence required for the conduct of a comprehensive research with the political elite representatives. Further assistance in the management, organization and funding of Russian academia are still needed. Thirdly, Russian research is lacking in reference to the foreign-language sources. Indeed, there is a language barrier existing between the Russia-language academics and researchers writing in other languages. The Russian language is known by few researchers outside Russia, while the Russian researchers are far from being fluent in other languages and in English in particular. This leads to the problem that the achievements of the EU-based researchers and the debate of the EU academia are frequently overlooked: moreover, the EU documents written in foreign language may not be available to Russian-speaking academics and this can lead to the establishment of misperceptions about the EU as such.

Key audiences and target groups

The key target groups consist of the Institute of Europe and the Institute for Public Finance Report. The role of the Institute of Europe in the Russian society is paramount as it is capable to influence Russian youth and young academics, in other words, those who represents the future of the country. The Institute for Public Finance Reform is capable to gain a foothold in state dominated policy network.

It is crucial for Europe to create and maintain direct communication channels with Russian society – by supporting Russian media outlets, by creating a platform for dialogue and establishing new Russian-language media in Europe which will be able to communicate the necessary message to the most active and well-educated segment of Russian society. 


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