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Media and the Ukraine Crisis

Hybrid Media Practices and Narratives of Conflict

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Edited By 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 Nine: Popular Geopolitics in the Shadow of Russia: The Ukraine Conflict in Finnish and Estonian Newspaper Editorials

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Popular Geopolitics IN THE Shadow OF Russia

The Ukraine Conflict in Finnish and Estonian Newspaper Editorials

MARKUS OJALA AND SIGRID KAASIK-KROGERUS

The end of the Cold War marked an upheaval in European geopolitical imagination (Agnew, 1998, p. 1). With the fall of the Iron Curtain that had separated the “Free West” from the “Communist East,” and in the spirit of globalisation that was supposedly eradicating all physical boundaries, the 1990s raised hopes that Europe would leave behind the era of divisions and unite into a common space from Lisbon to Vladivostok. Yet the subsequent eastward expansion of the EU and NATO has been accompanied by a failure to integrate Russia into European and global political and security arrangements, gradually exacerbating the tensions between the rhetoric of Russia’s inclusion and the practices of its exclusion (Haukkala, 2015; Sakwa, 2015). In the Ukraine conflict, these contradictions seem to have finally come to a head, potentially providing a fatal blow to the visions of an undivided Europe (Orenstein, 2015; Rutland, 2015). Indeed for many, the Ukraine conflict marks the return of Cold War antagonisms, and the geopolitical boundary-making between East and West is very much back in fashion (e.g., Mearsheimer, 2014; Walker, 2015).

Geopolitics should also be considered a key element in the exploration of how the Ukraine conflict became “mediatized,” that is, how various media-related practices influence the way in which the conflict is enacted, performed, represented, perceived and experienced (Cottle, 2006). Not only...

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