FIIA Comment

FIIA Comment 2 (2015)   

Making sense of the Russian bear metaphor:
The image of a threatened bear distracts us from understanding Russia’s actions

Published 22.1.2015

Katri Pynnöniemi
The Finnish Institute of International Affairs

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In trying to understand Russia’s actions in the context of the war in Ukraine, it is important to approach the use of the bear metaphor critically. In domestic use, the metaphor creates an image of a country acting in self-defence and deflects attention away from systemic problems.