Online discussions mocked Russian media and separatists in Ukraine

On Easter’s night, April 20,  a group of armed individuals attacked a barricade with separatists in Slovyansk, a  city in Donetsk region. One separatist was killed during arm fire, three – wounded. In the morning separatists announced that attackers were those who came from Kiev and Western regions of Ukraine. Separatists claimed they had found o $100 banknotes,  NATO fire guns and a business card of Dmytro Yarosh, a leader  of Pravyi Sector, organization, the name of which is the main argument for Russian media in their propaganda. One of the Russian TV stations reported with accusations for Pravyi Sector, demonstrating the business card. The accusations are one of the techniques of propaganda explored by Russian TV. BBC Russian analyzed those methods of manipulation.

Internet users in Ukraine have immediately reacted to the bias of Russian propaganda machine and started mocking separatists and Russian media publishing in social media messages with hashtag #ВизиткаЯроша. The messages ironized that  Yarosh’s business card caused the Titanic catastrophe, it was used during the Moon space mission or it was an attribute of many great painters.




Users have started publishing business cards and disseminating them offline.  Data by Topsy shows (bellow), almost 50,000 tweets were published during two days. Articles about the situation were published across media in different countries, including Australia.





Framing protests in Ukraine – viral video “I am Ukrainian”

Yulia Marushevska, a student from Kyiv, who participated in anti-governmental protests in Ukraine, became famous in the West due to the one video, posted in YouTube. Marushevka appeals to the world, explaining why Ukrainians were fighting against government. The video came viral – it got 7,990,000 views as far as April 5, 2014. Now Yulia is on tour in Canada and the States. She was invited by TV channels, city councils, think tanks and universities to talk about Ukraine and the protests. On April 8, Yulia gives a presentation at Stanford University. On April 13-15 she is visiting Boston.

The effects of viral video “I am Ukrainian” appeals ideally to the Western audience since it demonstrates personalization of the protests in Ukraine.  Yulia stands as an ideal hero – she is a protester, she is young and passionate, she speaks simply and sincerely and  the language she talks is English. She is a direct victim of the drama, also her family members participated in protests. She symbolizes a new generation of Ukrainians – she is English-speaking, devoted to the civic values and is in the list of young professionals.

At the same time, some authors mention the controversy of the video.. Yulia as a hero is too perfect to be real. Her message shows the developments in Ukraine in black and white, silencing the violence from protesters.

A discussion at Stanford University

A discussion at Stanford University

Another video, filmed by Ben Moses, posted by a user “Yulia Marushevska”, dated Dec 06, 2013, explains more about the protests in Ukraine. The caption states:

Finding myself in the epicenter of the protests – often referred to here as a revolution – I decided to interview some of the people in the streets. There is one factual error: the heavy outpouring of people into the streets occurred over several days after the beatings, not immediately the next day.

Discussions on viral video with Yulia Marushevska:

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Чи є відповіді на російську агресію в кіберпросторі – текст для Критики

У Росії достатньо ресурсів аби вести інформаційну війну проти України, однак недостатньо аби тягатися з західними медіа. ИТАР-ТАСС, РИА Новости, Russia Today та російські телеканали оперують величезними бюджетами, працюють роками практично в цілодобовому режимі, а віднедавна перейшли й в онлайн. Арсенал російської пропаганди виглядає наступним чином: Russia Today в Фейсбуці має 1,4 мільйони прихильників, в Tвітері – 630 тисяч. РИА Новости – 1,1 мільйони, в Твітері – 550 тисяч. До порівняння – найбільш впливова у вітчизняному інформаційному просторі Українська Правда має у Фейсбуці 185 тисяч прихильників, у Твітері – 146 тисяч. – Читати увесь текст

Overview: The Internet freedoms in Ukraine 2013

To consider the Internet freedoms in Ukraine, one should consider the latest developments in media industry in Ukraine, in particular, the segment of the Internet and social media. Such analysis must foresee a broader perspective, including the development of the Ukrainian Internet as an industry as well as the role of government that directly and indirectly regulates the Internet.

49,8% of adult population in Ukraine had access to the Internet as of Sept 2013, reports Kyiv Institute of Sociology (KIIS). The Internet access expanded from big cities to regional centers and small towns. The market for online advertising has grown 20-30% annually and the forecast for 2013 was $250 million. Online purchases became an everyday habit for hundred thousands of Ukrainians. The segment of tablets in the market was rapidly growing – 784 000 tablets were imported to Ukraine during the first three quarters of 2013. The growth of tablets sales in the 3rd quarter of 2013 was 233% compared to the same period of 2012.

The market of Internet providers in Ukraine was diverse and competitive since late 90s, the time when it has been constantly developing. An average monthly payment for broadband Internet access is around  $12-15, one of the cheapest in the world. The cost of the Internet in Ukraine made the service accessible to new customers and helps the market to grow. A Ukrainian cyrillic domain zone .УКР for websites was registered in 2013, expanding the variety of domain names for local business and media.

The government interference targeting Internet companies was among the most disturbing factors of the industry development. In 2013 the government took actions to control the online payments and the distribution of content online by using the effective but legislatively doubtful method – to invade the offices of the companies and eject network servers. In 2013 the law enforcement agencies targeted the following offices: IT-company GlobalLogics, Russian social network, online payments company WebMoney, Internet-provider Volya, file exchange service company On Dec 9, 2013, the government used the same method against their political opponents – police invaded into the headquarter of oppositional Batkivchyna political party and ejected the servers. Continue reading

Driven by revolution, social media and Internet continue to play significant role in Ukraine

Ukrainian revolution would have not resulted if social media and the Internet had not been available to the citizens. The first call to come to the Independence square to protest has been posted in Facebook by a journalist Mustafa Nayem on Nov 21, 2014. But even more, the development of digital culture will be crucial for the success of Ukraine in the nearest years.

How do social media and the Internet influence the social order? Here is a digest of recent developments:

The New York Times refers to Facebook as a source by quoting Ukrainian officials:
“Berkut is gone,” the acting interior minister, Arsen Avakov, announced in a posting on Facebook. Many Ukrainian progressive politicians see social media as a direct tool to spread a word of their appeals and calls.

UT-1, an official first TV channel in Ukraine agreed to provide, which is online TV channel, couple of hours of broadcasting per day. The context: UT-1 has bebe the most manipulative TV channel during Yanukovych regime and it was fully controlled by the previous government.

A new news site HUBs has been launched on Feb 21. The project is run by ex-journalists of Forbes Ukraine, who retired from the magazine in Nov 2013 as a protest against censorship by a new owner. The project has been working for two months, initially the articles have been published in Facebook until the site was built.

The issue of lustration for politicians and ex-state officials is widely discussed in the Internet. Hundreds of Facebook posts have been published during last days. There are couple of sites targeting the issue:
– #НеБутиСкотом – a comprehensive crowdsourcing approach to collect information about politicians, police, judges and thugs (titushki) on one resource.
– We remember – a site I have launched two days ago to collect video with the speeches of the most outrages politicians.
– Activists have published a questionary on state officials in Kyiv, asking users to report in those who should be under lustration.

Twitter of has been hacked

The official Twitter account of, one of the leading online news site in Ukraine, has been hacked at midnight, Feb 17, 2014, by anonymous users.

Two tweets, that indicate the hacking of the account, were published on 12.36 am and 2.12 am respectively.

The first one said: “We are the most lying news”. The second one was an appeal to pro-government oligarch Dmytro Firtash, an owner of U.A. Inter Media Group Limited, a media holding that operates dozens media resources, including site. The tweet said “D.V. Firtash, unfortunately, you run out of funds to continue publishing lie on this resource.”


First tweet: “We are the most lying news”


Second tweet with an appeal to Firtash

Many Twitter users have retweeted those messages, wondering what were the reasons of publishing tweets. Some asked if the account was hacked.

Compared to other leading news resources, the edition of do not pay much attention to Twitter as a tool to inform audience. Twitter of had just 2402 followers on the time of hacking. It followed none users. Meanwhile, Twitter of Ukrainska Pravda had 97,000 followers, – 61,200, RadioSvoboda – 54,500.

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Интернет и эмоциональная журналистика времен Евромайдана


Киев, 15 декабря 2013. Автор фото неизвестен

15 декабря 2013 года 200-тысячный Майдан Независимости засветился десятками тысяч мобильных телефонов и фонариков. Люди держали телефоны и фонарики высоко на головами, исполняя хором гимн Украины. В тот же день участники пели хором на пару со Святославом Вакарчуком, лидером “Океана Эльзы”, чей концерт был посвящен демонстрантам, избитых спецотрядами милиции 30 ноября. Светящийся Майдан на несколько минут преобразился в манифест нового общества – людей, подключенных к Интернету и мало зависимых от пропаганды подконтрольных правительству телеканалов.

За три года правления Януковича власть прозевала технологический сдвиг в обществе – Интернет стал ключевым источником информации для представителей образованного класса, включая журналистов, гражданских активистов, бизнесменов, служащих, студентов. Именно они были среди первых 1500 киевлян, которые вышли протестовать против правительства на Майдан Независимости поздно вечером 21 ноября.

Уже несколько лет Интернет, ставший главным общественным форумом страны, является одним из главных фактором давления на политический режим в Украине. Заметную роль в этом процессе играют и журналисты. В условиях правительственного контроля над многими СМИ, сбалансированное информирование о действиях власти от Интернет-СМИ – само по себе является ударом по легитимности правительства и Президента.

Однако роль украинских журналистов не ограничивается только информированием о событиях в стране, как это следовало бы ожидать в любой демократической стране. Имея довольно высокий запас доверия в обществе и понимая потенциал соцмедиа и Интернета, часть журналистов видят себе также и в роли гражданских активистов. В условиях зачистки свободной украинской журналистики времен Януковича, этот активизм выглядит вынужденным шагом со стороны медийщиков. Более того, часть сообщества украинских журналистов видит себя не только последним бастионом свободы слова в стране, но и свободы общества в целом. Перефразируя слова Евгения Евтушенка о том, что “поэт в России — больше, чем поэт”, в Украине журналист – чуть больше, чем журналист.

События Евромайдана, ставшего крупнейшим протестом в истории независимой Украины, возможно бы не состоялись без участия журналистов. Ведь именно со стороны журналистов в соцсетях прозвучала идея собраться поздно вечером 21 ноября на Майдане Независимости с целью высказать протест против отказа Украины от евроинтеграции. Несколько дней спустя, 1 декабря, без выложенных в YouTube роликов, весь мир возможно бы и не узнал правду о жестокости спецотрядов милиции во время разгона студентов на Майдане в ночь на 30 ноября. И возможно не узнал бы и об избиении около 40 журналистов возле Администрации Президента вечером 1 декабря.


Киев, 7 декабря 2013. Автор фото: Олег Мацех

Как же развивались события в первые дни протеста и какова в них роль журналистов? Continue reading

Twitter storm #digitalmaidan – making global outreach possible

by Mark MatlaTwitter Storm #digitalmaidan is a grass-root initiative to spread a word about President Yanukovych’s crimes and police brutality in Ukraine. By conducting Twitter Storm we attract world’s attention through a large number of pre-made tweets sent by users within defined period of time. Ukrainian Twitter Storm uses hashtags #digitalmaidan #euromaidan #ukraine. It lasts for a hour.

On Jan 23, 2014 the first Twitter Storm has been conducted targeting the issue of police violence in Ukraine.
On Jan 30, 2014 – the second one, targeting Yanukovych’s family corruption
On Feb 6, 2014 – the third one, targeting the behavior of ruling Party of Regions members, in particular ex-Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and MP Elena Bondarenko.

When politicians fail to understand social media – Kernes case

kernesTV1Ukrainian politicians, especially representatives of ruling Party of Regions, demonstrate their blindness towards the impact of social media on political life in Ukraine. Media appearance of Gennadiy Kernes, a mayor of Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine, is a case.

Kernes, a well-known supporter of President Yanukovych, is famous with his roughness and boorishness towards journalists, political opponents and his colleagues in Kharkiv City Council. For example, in 2012 during a council meeting Kernes as a major addressed to one of state officials, responsible for housing services in Kharkiv, with the words: “Hey you, Kondaurov, a son of the bitch, if you are irresponsible to your obligations, I will multiply you by zero.”

In the end of Jan 2014, Mustafa Nayem, a journalist of Hromadske TV, interviewed Kernes regarding the political situation in Ukraine. The tone of Kernes’ statements was intolerable, the politician abruptly attacked his political opponents, did not answer on journalist’s direct questions regarding government responsibility for the violence and political crisis in Ukraine. Also, Kernes jumped to the discussion of sexual orientation of journalists, personally insulting some of them.

The interview lasted for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Nevertheless, it attracted a huge attention of the audience – tens of thousands viewers watched it during live air and later it has got 232,000 views in YouTube.

Internet users massively reacted on Kernes’s roughness – they wrote in Facebook and Twitter, expressing their emotions and feedback.

What Kernes is talking now, would be a political suicide in any civilized country – Stanislaw @stas8t

Kernes got crazy. That’s all. I have no words – Yasya Krayevskaya @yaassyya

Kernes is not able to answer any question #ΣVROMAIΔAИ (@evromdn)

Kernes’ interview brought immediate media attention – is has been widely discussed in Ukrainian Internet by thousands users. The overview of users’ tweets on Kernes, published in Storify, collected almost 89 000 views during a week.

Here is a story: [View the story “Реакція твітерян на інтерв’ю з Кернесом ” on Storify]

Kernes is also known by his addiction to Instagram where he posts photos from gym and restaurants. He does not care to use vulgar language whole commenting his opponents and critics.

Tips: How to use Twitter in Ukraine today

Twitter plays a significant role in dissemination of information about Ukrainian protests (#euromaidan, #євромайдан). Many new users have joined Twitter in Ukraine during last three weeks of protests.

To provide better understanding to users on how to use Twitter effectively, my colleagues in Internews Ukraine conducted an educational session today (trainer – Yevgen Demchenko, FRI). The session was also streaming online. A special attention was paid to the issue how to avoid misleading information in Twitter.