This article probes into scope conditions for image change, investigating what changes in Russian images of the European Union (EU) have taken place as a result of the Russian–Ukrainian crisis. The crisis, a catalytic event, has been surrounded by uncertainty and strong emotions and is seen as a potential historical watershed in EU–Russian relations. The article examines Russia’s images of the EU’s intentions (good or bad?), capabilities (strong or weak?), and cultural and political status (inferior or superior?); and how they change in connection with the Russian–Ukrainian crisis. The article compares EU images across time found in Russian major newspapers and public opinion (studies undertaken in 2011–12 and 2015, before and after the crisis).

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