Russian regions in foreign media in 2016

27 April 2017

Russian regions in foreign media in 2016

The analytical agency Smyslografia, which is a part of AGT Communication Group, and Dow Jones conducted the next survey of the perception of Russian Federation regions by leading foreign English-language media. The methodology developed by the specialists of Smyslografiya agency includes quantitative and qualitative elaboration of mentions of Russian Federation subjects, analyzed using Factiva.com information and analytical service materials in TOP-100 key English-language media, including The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones Newswire, The Economist, The Guardian , Washington Post and others. The total score assigned to each territory takes into account the region's assessment both by the number of its references and by the percentage of favorable publications. Moscow was excluded from the general rating, as its comparison with other subjects of Russian Federation was recognized as methodologically incorrect due to its federal and international significance.

Saying about presence of the Russian Federation subjects in key world English-language media, the results of 2016 brought some important changes. For the first time in six years of the rating, the Orenburg and Moscow regions entered the top ten, and the Sakhalin region left it.

At the same time, analysts of Smyslografiya agency note that the agenda, within the framework of which the subjects of the federation are mentioned in foreign media, remains extremely stable: sports, fuel and energy sector and updates of long-term credit ratings of regions.

The main information reason for the emergence of Russian regions on the pages of foreign sources is traditionally football. Within the TOP-10 only Krasnoyarsk Territory, Moscow and Chelyabinsk regions do not have this decisive factor of increased interest in the territory from the side of global media. And in 2016, the share of "football" materials devoted to the preparations for the 2018 World Cup has significantly decreased. For a number of regions (Perm Krai, Samara and Tomsk regions, Mordovia), the participation of local teams in the Russian football championship provided in 2016 from 80% to 90% of publications in the leading English-language media.

The sports theme In Tatarstan and Orenburg region is somewhat wider. The world championship on water sports, held in the summer of 2015 in Kazan, was still a driver of media interest in the republic. An important contribution to the record breaking in the Orenburg region was a successful game in the European cups of the local women's basketball team "Hope", in which US citizens also play.

The doping theme most affected the Republic of Mordovia, in last year's ranking ranked 2nd. Numerous reports on the lifetime disqualification of the coach of the Saransk Center for Athletic Walking served as the main reason for the loss of the region immediately 13 points in the rating of this year.

A reliable "communication bridge" between the Russian region and the English-speaking business world remains the news flow associated with the fuel and energy complex. In the focus of the leading foreign media in 2016 were: the activities of the company Tatneft; Privatization of Bashneft; Projects of Gazprom in the Orenburg region, including a joint project with the Vietnamese company PetroVietnam; Activities of the Tomsk distribution company and Krasnoyarsk gas-electric complex; Stock quotes and ratings of energy companies operating in the Moscow region; The work of the Yaroslavl-Kirishi oil pipeline and so on. But Sakhalin Region remains the most saturated oil and gas news region, from the point of view of foreign media. Among the top information reasons for Sakhalin (in addition to the traditional reports on the projects of Gazprom and Rosneft) confirmation during the meeting of V.Putin and S.Abe the interest of Japan and Russia in the construction of the Sakhalin-Hokkaido gas pipeline and the announcement of the appointment by the Secretary of State of the Administration of D. Trump Rex Tillerson Supervising the projects of Exxon Mobil on Sakhalin.

Status events in 2016 significantly increased the representation of the Krasnoyarsk Territory (Krasnoyarsk Economic Forum), but did not become decisive for the promotion of St. Petersburg (SPIEF, EurAsEC summits and CSTO) in foreign media. The volume of information in the media topics of the meeting between Lavrov and Steinmeier in Yekaterinburg turned out to be comparable with the number of reports about the forums.

Statements by rating agencies on long-term credit ratings of regions of one or another constituent entity of the federation or its capital continue to be a guaranteed source of references in the foreign business press. In 2016, the update of the Fitch rating became one of the leading information sources, for example, for the subjects of the federation from TOP-10: the Krasnoyarsk Territory, the Tomsk and Chelyabinsk regions.

Unfortunately, information about emergency incidents, especially aviation accidents, is still significantly represented in the publications of foreign media about Russian regions. The crash of the Tupolev Tu-154 plane in Black Sea in the media was connected with Krasnodar Territory and the Moscow airport Chkalovsky near Moscow. The crash of an aircraft flying from Ekaterinburg via Kansk to Tiksi, was among the key informational reasons of Sverdlovsk region. Against the backdrop of reports about the crash of the FlyDubai aircraft at the Rostov-on-Don airport, the media was reminded of the fall of the Tatarstan airline in 2013. Chelyabinsk in connection with its famous meteorite was mentioned in a variety of reports in 2016 due to the increased attention of the international scientific community to the consequences of the fall of meteorites.

According to the results of the survey, Smyslography specialists note a significant increase in the interest of foreign media in 2016 to Russian industrial and transport projects. Thus, the main information sources of the Republic of Tatarstan included the possible participation of China in building a high-speed railway between Kazan and Moscow, which was discussed during Putin's visit to China. The Chelyabinsk Region is bound to the news of the work of industrial enterprises in the region, primarily Mechel Holding, the Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company and the Chelyabinsk Metallurgical Combine.

Vladislav Shulaev, Director for Promotion of Territories of AGT Communications Agency, believes that the research of Smyslography and Dow Jones reflects primarily the extent to which Russian regions are present in the leading business media and, as a result, are known to potential foreign investors. Therefore, the situation is especially worrisome for the five regions that close the rating, including the Pskov and Vologda regions, the Nenets Autonomous District and the Jewish Autonomous Region, which have a large number of information sources for foreign media. According to the expert, any of these subjects of the federation with minimal communication efforts can enter the TOP-50 of the Russian regions of the rating. At the same time, it should be taken into account that the mention of the region is not always positive and often does not correspond to the tasks of promotion. So, the most widely mentioned in the foreign media mention of the Novgorod region in 2016 was the installation of a monument to Ivan the Terrible in Orel, and Novgorod in this news is mentioned as a city where in the 16th century more than 10% of the population was killed by the order of the Moscow Tsar. The Expert of AGT also draws attention to the fact that one of the leaders of the National rating of the investment climate - Belgorod region - is in the seventh decade of the rating of the presence in foreign media for the second consecutive year, losing some of its investment attractiveness. No less critical, according to Vladislav Shulaev, is the passivity in the foreign media of St. Petersburg, which in this rating for the last three years occupies a position between 16th and 18th place. The city that claims to be one of the European centers of attraction of investments in the foreign business media field is not among the leading positive newsmakers, even among the Russian regions.

The full version of the study can be found on the website of the Analytical Agency "Smyslography" in the section "Studies".