Military Conflict in Eastern Ukraine and its Social and Political Dimensions
Keywords:military conflict, great state, parallel state, social networks, geopolitical influence
Social networks have become tools of geopolitical influence that Russia fully used during annexation of Crimea and inflaming of war in Eastern Ukraine. The pro-Russian pages "In Contact" created the image of Ukraine as a foreign country for the population of Donbas and Crimea, Southeastern Ukraine - as a part of Greater Russia, NATO and the EU - as the main enemies whose actions have led to the conflict. The narrative concerning Ukraine was dominated by the theme of describing the actions of the Ukrainian military and the Ukrainian authorities as "punishers", making an emotional message and appealing to allegories of World War II, which was intended to deepen the sense that Ukraine is an enemy. The second dominant issue was the questioning of Ukraine as a political entity, through appealing to it as for "failed political project". The third dominant issue for Ukraine was the widespread criticism of former-Ukrainian authorities, which was referred to as the "Kyiv authorities" to emphasize the differences between the interests of the Center and local interests. Abovementioned issues of the geopolitical narrative were complemented by issues of domination of oligarchs in Ukraine, who exploited the population and allowed themselves to violate human rights and freedoms. Russia, in its turn, created for itself the image of a "great state" capable of resisting the enemy and being culturally closer to Southeastern Ukraine (so called the concept of "Novorosiya"). The annexation of Crimea was used as the sample of "success story" in pro-Russian narratives.
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