Nattanop Palahan’s candidate dissertation in media studies and journalism has been successfully defended at St Petersburg University. Nattanop Palahan is a lecturer at the our Faculty. He teaches Thai language, Theoretical and Historical Grammar of the Thai language and Buddhist vocabulary in Thai epigraphy.

The defence was conducted according to the rules of St Petersburg University.

The topic of the research was ’Propaganda of the Soviet media in The Kingdom of Thailand during the Cold War’. The dissertation was supervised by Liudmila Gromova, Head of Department of History of Journalism, Professor Emeritus of St Petersburg University. The Dissertation Council highly appreciated the presented work. The Council remarked that the candidate had introduced a large number of previously unpublished documents from the archives of Moscow, St Petersburg, and Bangkok. In addition, in his review Professor Nikolai Labush highlighted the importance of contemporary research on the history and mechanisms of political propaganda. ’This aspect is important for the current Russian situation, in which Russia is exposed to massive external media influence and internal ideological contradictions,’ he added.

The Dissertation Council consisted of: Nikolai Labush, Professor in the Department of International Journalism; Galina Melnik, Professor in the Department of Print Media; Natalia Tsvetova, Professor in the Department of Speech Communication; Elena Kotelenets, Professor of RUDN University; and Aigerim Ospanova Professor of the L. N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University. The Dissertation Council was chaired by Boris Misonzhnikov, Professor in the Department of Print Media of St Petersburg University.

Professor Galina Melnik noted the author’s efforts to reflect the different ideological positions that existed in Thailand during the Cold War. In her view, this expresses the objectivity of the author of the thesis. Natalia Tsvetova, Professor of St Petersburg University, agreed. ’The main achievement of the author of the dissertation, in our opinion, is the creation of a consistent, logically impeccable research narrative that corresponds to the Russian scholarly tradition. It opens with an analysis of the initial stage of formation of the Russian propaganda concept, ending with an analysis of the multifunctional status of Soviet media in Thailand in a particular historical period’, she stressed.

Nattanop Palahan’s dissertation touches on a very important topic — the problem of a country’s image abroad. He analyses this particular problem during the Cold War period. It was during this period that all the tools, technologies, and means of information warfare that developed in the following years were tried out.
Elena Kotelenets, Doctor of History, Professor in the Department of Russian History at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of RUDN University

In addition, Elena Kotelenets noted the interdisciplinary nature of the work: the research was conducted at the intersection of journalism, history, political science, and international relations. Aigerim Ospanova, Professor at the L.N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University, highlighted the use of extensive methodological and methodological bases as a strength of the work.

Two external reviews were also received. For example, Trisilpa Boonkhachon, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, Corresponding Member of the Academy of Arts, the Royal Society of Thailand, noted that the dissertation forms a positive image of Russia and successfully enriches academic knowledge about Soviet media with rare archival materials, memoirs, and interviews. Natcheewan Mekratanakulpat, Assistant Lecturer in the Department of the South-East and Korean Philology of St Petersburg University, was present at the defence. She added that the dissertation ‘opened the door to rare and extremely interesting information concerning not only the history of media development and policy of Thailand, but also the relations between the USSR and Thailand.’ She stressed that Nattanop Palahan, who teaches Thai to undergraduate students at St Petersburg University and Russian to university students in Thailand, enthusiastically shares his own research experience and uses the accumulated empirical material in his work, adapting it into an accessible and entertaining format for students.

In his response, the applicant thanked the members of the Dissertation Council and the authors of the external feedback and noted that the received comments would be of great help in his future work.

The presentation of the reviews was concluded by Liudmila Gromova, Research Supervisor of the applicant, Professor Emeritus of St Petersburg University. She reported that after completing his bachelor’s degree in Russian Studies in Thailand, Nattanop Palahan studied in the master’s programme in International Journalism at St Petersburg University and later in the doctoral programme in Journalism, which he completed in 2021.

During his doctoral studies, Palahan was an active participant in scientific conferences at universities in St Petersburg, Moscow, and Tomsk. He published his works in Russian and foreign scientific and popular scientific journals.
Liudmila Gromova, Head of the Department of History of Journalism, Professor Emeritus of St Petersburg University

Liudmila Gromova added that the applicant himself has co-organised a number of academic events at the University. The candidate is trying to make maximum use of the research experience and academic background in his teaching practice, she noted.

’A good knowledge of the history of international relations and the mechanisms of propaganda influence enabled the master’s student, doctoral student, and now the dissertation candidate to look at the problem in its historical development multilaterally,’ said Professor Liudmila Gromova, Head of the Department of History of Journalism and Emeritus Professor at St Petersburg University.

The members of the Dissertation Council voted unanimously to award the degree of Candidate of Philology to the applicant.