Discursive strategies for legitimizing U.S. sanctions policy towards Russia (2021-2023)

Discursive strategies for legitimizing U.S. sanctions policy towards Russia (2021-2023)

Article received: 2023.10.18. Accepted: 2024.02.09

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2024.03.08

For citation:

Sokolshchik L.M., Sokolshchik Yu.S., Teremetskiy K.S. Discursive strategies for legitimizing U.S. sanctions policy towards Russia (2021-2023). – Polis. Political Studies. 2024. No. 3. P. 109-125. (In Russ.). https://doi.org/10.17976/jpps/2024.03.08. EDN: NTYWXM

The research project was funded by Russian Scientific Foundation, project number 23-18-00535, https://rscf.ru/project/23-18-00535/


The aim of the study is to conduct a comprehensive analysis of discursive strategies for legitimizing the United States (U.S.) sanctions policy against Russia during the Biden Administration. The paper is based on a constructivist theory within the study of international relations and methodological innovations by T. van Dijk, T.J. van Leeuwen, R. Wodak. The research investigates the hypothesis that the absence of an international legal framework for anti-Russian sanctions creates an increased need for the United States to legitimize them. The work uses critical discourse analysis (CDA) to investigate discursive strategies of legitimization of U.S. sanctions against Russia (through 1) emotions; 2) hypothetical future; 3) procedures; 4) expert opinion; 5) altruism). The study shows that anti-Russian sanctions is a part of the hegemonic foreign policy of the United States. It is manifested, reproduced, and justified through the official narrative. Political discourses containing ideological attitudes are used by the United States to create, maintain and protect its identity, which is based on the binary opposition “ Self-Positive Representation - Other-Negative Representation” and has a projection on the country's foreign policy. The most convincing discursive strategies of legitimization are those that appeal to the fundamental pillars of American identity (strategies 1, 2, 5). Strategies that rely on more specific/ situational grounds and argumentation systems are the least convincing (strategies 3, 4).

sanctions policy, Russia, U.S., discursive strategies, legitimation, official narrative.


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Content No. 3, 2024

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