Challenges and Hopes
Edited By Viktor Stepanenko and Yaroslav Pylynskyi
Vocabularies of Colliding Realities: A Representation of Conflict and War in the Ukrainian Media
This article deals with media frames and means of persuasion used in the coverage of events surrounding the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. Based on the premise that the struggle for resolution of the conflict is a struggle for meanings,1 this article shows how the gradual clarification of distinctions between the concepts of war/crisis, rebels/terrorists, rights of regions/separatism, as well as the creation of argumentative systems focused on facts contribute to adequate decision making, enhance resilience, and consolidate society in Ukraine.
Framing the War: From “Crisis” and “Conflict” to “Patriotic War I”
Why do people give different, often completely opposite names to the same object or event? The pragmatic answer to this question is obvious: because they have different, even opposite goals with regard to the object. Giving a desirable name to a thing is a way to symbolically “own” it and exercise power over it. Changing that name is a weapon of war. “Divide and rule,” in a time of information wars, means “divide by the use of names and rule.”
During the Maidan events in winter 2014, the label “fascists” and affinitive lexical mutants like “oligarchic-fascist plot” aimed at a radical devaluation of revolutionary ideology. During the short-term militarized “campaign” before the Crimean referendum in March, billboard ads in the ← 241 | 242 → peninsula reduced the choice facing citizens to images of two maps – one showing Crimean territory with a swastika, implying Ukraine’s allegedly “Nazi” policies, and the other, postulating...
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