This paper focuses on the use of Soviet-era symbols, myths, and narratives within groups on VKontakte social media site over the initial stage of the Ukraine crisis (2014–2015). The study is based on qualitative content analysis of online discussions, visual materials, and entries by group administrators and commentators. It also applies link-analysis in order to see how groups on social media are interrelated and positioned online. It reveals that these online groups are driven primarily by neo-Soviet myths and hopes for a new version of the USSR to emerge. Over time, the main memory work in these groups shifted from Soviet nostalgia and “pragmatic” discourse to the use of re-constructed World War II memories in order to justify Russian aggression and to undermine national belonging in Ukraine. Reliance on the wartime mythology allowed for the labelling of Euromaidan supporters as “fascists” that should be eliminated “once again.” This powerful swirl of re-created Soviet memories allowed effective mobilization on the ground and further escalation of the conflict from street protests to the armed struggle.
Fighting for the Soviet Union 2.0: Digital nostalgia and national belonging in the context of the Ukrainian crisis
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Ivan Kozachenko; Fighting for the Soviet Union 2.0: Digital nostalgia and national belonging in the context of the Ukrainian crisis. Communist and Post-Communist Studies 1 March 2019; 52 (1): 1–10. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.postcomstud.2019.01.001
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