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Media and the Ukraine Crisis

Hybrid Media Practices and Narratives of Conflict


Mervi Pantti

How are media and communications transforming armed conflicts? How are conflicts made visible in the media in different national and transnational settings? How does the media serve as a means by which
various actors manage and communicate conflict?

These are some of the questions addressed in this book. Using a variety of disciplinary perspectives and analytical approaches, contributors discuss the complex, multi-level Ukraine conflict as it is imagined and enacted in and through various media. Covering a wide range of media forms and content, including television news, newspapers, PR campaigns, and social media content, they offer new, empirically grounded insight into the ways in which traditional mass media and new media forms are involved in narrating and shaping conflict.

This book is suitable for students of conflict and media courses in journalism, media and communication, politics, security, and Russian and Eastern European studies.

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Chapter Eight: Strategic Narratives of the Ukraine Conflict Projected for Domestic and International Audiences by Russian TV Channels


Strategic Narratives OF THE Ukraine Conflict Projected FOR Domestic AND International Audiences BY Russian TV Channels


The power of actors in contemporary conflicts is no longer simply defined by military equipment and the outcome of tactical operations but by the support of the public at home and within the area of operations. Russia has mastered the ability to conduct an information war—as shown during its conflict with Ukraine—in which media campaigns are targeted toward both domestic and international audiences. In this context, the concept of strategic narratives has become relevant as they are used to construct activities, themes and messages in a compelling story line with the aim of explaining events, obtaining legitimacy and gaining public support (Dimitriu, 2012). The objective of this chapter is to examine how (and if) the strategic narratives of the Ukrainian crisis are different on Russian television when they are broadcast to different audiences: domestic and foreign.

Russian television has been in a key position in advancing the strategic narratives of the government, drawing on the country’s geopolitical and historical imagination. Even the growing number of Internet users does not challenge the supremacy of television in Russia (Laruelle, 2013). Channel One (Perviy kanal) is the most accessed (it covers up to 98% of the population) and the most popular television channel in Russia—up to 82% of Russians say it is their main source for news (Russian Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications, 2012; Volkov...

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