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Totalitarian Political Discourse?

Tolerance and Intolerance in Eastern and East Central European Countries- Diachronic and Synchronoc Aspects- In collaboration with Karsten Senkbeil


Edited By Beatrix Kreß

This volume contributes to the study of political and especially totalitarian language in the countries of the former Eastern Bloc, by bringing together not only diachronic and synchronic aspects, but also by including different media types, such as newspapers, the internet, and different discourse types, e.g. environmental and gender discourses. The combination of historical and contemporary perspectives in many contributions add comparative dimensions, while also shedding light on relevant socio-political developments and phenomena in those post-communist countries, thus uniting linguistic methods with cultural studies.


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Is there a totalitarian language in non-totalitarian states?: Beatrix Kreß


Is there a totalitarian language in non-totalitarian states? Beatrix Kreß 1 Introduction In the following paper I will discuss a certain kind of self-display, image or style used by the former Russian president Dmitrij Medvedev in his external presenta- tion on his official website and in his blog as well as on the websites of some other Russian politicians and political institutions. Before describing a range of verbal devices and metaphors that seem to be prototypical for Russian politics and its media presentation, I need to make two preliminary remarks: On the one hand, it still seems to be unclear –at least to me – whether the question I pose in the title of my paper is merely rhetorical. Although at first sight one might argue that the answer is clearly yes (especially when we bear in mind Putin’s speaking of As much state as necessary, as much freedom as pos- sible), the picture does not remain so clear when we take a closer look. And that leads to my second preliminary remark: I am still not sure whether the phe- nomenon I am trying to describe should be labeled totalitarian language or whether another notion might be more precise. 2 Totalitarian language If we understand totalitarian language as a language which not only interferes with everyday life, but is used naturally in this sphere, as Rathmayr (1995: 195) claims that it was under the Soviet regime, the picture of contemporary Russia remains rather vague. If we adopt this...

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