Social Media and the Russian-Ukrainian Conflict

In loser Folge publizieren wir bis zum Beginn von #RKB15 eine Serie von Statements der Redner und Diskutanten. Wir bieten Ihnen damit die Gelegenheit, sich schon einmal warmzudiskutieren – entweder im stillen Selbstgespräch oder hier in den Kommentaren.

von Alexander Smolianski

The importance of social networks research and mass-media monitoring in relation to Russian and post-Soviet research is shown in a case study of the Russian–Ukrainian conflict.

In order to understand how the Russian–Ukrainian conflict is mirrored in social networks, it is quite important to track how the frequency of references to the objects of monitoring changes geographically and time-wise.

The study demonstrates that the quantity of documents related to the Crimea allows us to estimate the level of interest in this topic within mass media. It is clear that interest in this topic has decreased.

In spite of the fact that the quantity of publications has decreased, the number of regions which cover the topic has increased.

Social networks can be considered as one of the mass media sources, and the same trends can be observed here. From 2014 to 2015, the total amount of posts covering objects related to the Crimea has decreased. And at the same time, the subject of the status of the Russians has replaced the matter of reunification with Russia.

Bloggers are also actively engaged in the discussion. For instance, male bloggers in Tatarstan are interested in military aspects of the Crimea reunification with Russia in the Tatar issue, while the matter of the status of the Russians in Crimea does not particularly interest them.

As for the most popular platforms for the Crimea-related discussions, the first place is taken, as expected, by the Russian-speaking social network VKontakte. In 2015, Facebook occupies the third place, while Yandex has disappeared from the TOP 7.

Distribution by the discussion platform changes in accordance to the monitoring object. The matter of the status of the Russians dominates in all networks, while other matters are discussed on international platforms only.

The list of the most active bloggers has also changed. In 2014, the majority of posts were made by individuals, while in 2015 official media have taken the initiative.

As for the regions most actively involved in the Crimea-related discussions, the situation is different from that regarding official mass media. Here, the first place is occupied by Kiev, which has ousted Moscow to the second place.

On the whole, considering the changes in the total amount of posts in Russia and all over the world, one can notice a significant drop of interest in the Crimea-related discussions.

Diagram_of_a_social_network

Abbildung: Wikimedia Commons | Katharinewillis | Public Domain


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