Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

Reader 1

Hilary Appel

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2023 Jason L Rhett


Through analyzing the cases of public opinion in Russia and South Africa, this thesis explores the nature of strategic narratives and the effects that they have on public opinion. Using the Russia-Ukraine conflict as a case study, it is conclusive that while strategic narratives are important and impactful, they are not the only factor that shape domestic and international public opinion. In Russia, while narrative has swayed a large portion of the population, there are those who’s stances can be attributed to the pressure to conform to the Russian nationalist majority. In South Africa, the country’s leadership has taken a stance that is different than the majority of its public, failing to garner their support through its justifications. History, geopolitics, and both qualitative and quantitative data are used to highlight the independence and growing autonomy of contemporary public opinion.