Ukraine in World Media Content: Problematic and Thematic Aspects
Оlena T*, Yulia B, Lyudmyla D, Olha S and Volodymyr S
Department of Journalism and Philology, Sumy State University, Sumy, Ukraine
- *Corresponding Author:
- Оlena T
Professor of Department of Journalism and
Received Date: January 24, 2018; Accepted Date: March 06, 2018; Published Date: March 26, 2018
Citation: Оlena T, Yulia B, Lyudmyla D, Olha S, Volodymyr S. Ukraine in World Media Content: Problematic and Thematic Aspects. Global Media Journal 2018, 16:30.
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The article deals with the content of world famous newspapers such as German “Die Welt” and “Bild”, American “The New York Times” and “New York Post”, British “Independent” and “The Guardian” and Russian “Commersant” and “Rossiiskaya Hazeta” concerning the events in Ukraine. The media, building a scale of the priorities of Ukrainian events, create its image, by ranking the problems of importance and form the imagination of the world community. The image of the state is that system of markers, stable key characteristics that give an idea of the country and make possible to distinguish it among the plurality of other countries. The research was conducted from January 1 to March 31, 2016. Applying the theory of the agenda of McKobs and Shaw, the researchers found the problem-thematic orientation of the materials, their genre embodiment, emotional coloring, and heading features of the content, which characterizes Ukraine as a state, which made it possible to determine the factors that influence the formation of public thoughts about the image of this state. Having identified problematic and thematic content, priority ranking of Ukrainian events, the authors made an attempt to identify Ukraine’s image on the world stage and how it is formed by the foreign media.
Media; Information; Content; Section; Genre; Problematic and
thematic content; Image
Of great importance is the way the world perceives Ukraine in
the context of globalization as the highest level of the existence
paradigm of the world community.
Today this problem has become extremely urgent, because of
the struggle for sovereignty, the European choice, the Crimea
annexation and Russia military and information aggression. The
fight for own state resulted in gaining independence, however,
still de jure, but not de-facto. “Without changing own awareness
in the competitive world, without creating a national idea of a
successful state, it is vain to hope for real changes in Ukraine”,
– notes the authors of the book “Games of reflections. How
Ukraine is seen by the world” .
Both the authorities and politicians have been passively imaging
Ukraine on the international scene for 25 years of independence.
At the same time, the information epoch made an image, and
first of all, the image formed by the media, the main factor of
the state in the international arena. The state image is a system
of markers, stable key characteristics that give an idea of the
country and make it possible to distinguish it among the great
number of others.
The state image is an issue, which has attracted the attention
of many scientists from different fields during recent decades.
Kunczik is considered to be one of the most reputable among
foreign scientists. The scientist believes that a nation image
consists of a number of attributes that a person recognizes
(or imagines) when he thinks of that nation. The researcher, equating the notion of state image and nation image, believes
that it consists of three components: cognitive (what we know
about the nation), affective (what we feel about it) and activity
(how we treat it) .
As to Ukraine’s image as a national problem, the popular scientific
research “Games of reflections. How Ukraine is seen by the
world” by Vodotyka and Magda is of great current interest which
highlights the evolution of the international image of Ukraine in
the historical retrospective, the theoretical and practical aspects
of working on it. The authors reveal the factors influencing the way
of Ukraine’s perception in the modern world. The considerable
attention is paid to the historical and philosophical contexts of
the functioning of stereotypes about Ukraine, as well as to the
historical and political background of its image formation in
different countries .
The media power to form Ukraine’s image is demonstrated by
Yulia Kozyr’s monograph “The conceptual model Ukraine-Russia
in Ukrainian and Russian media” on the example of Russian
media. The author examines the peculiarities of Ukrainian-
Russian relations coverage in the media of Ukraine and Russian
Federation, the sociocultural meanings of the conceptual model
Ukraine-Russia, in particular. The researcher compared the
topics (priorities in agenda) and directly sociocultural meanings
defined by Greimas’ actantial model and revealed significant
differences in semantic content of events, which are reflected in
the distribution of roles of Ukraine and Russia as actors involved
in media narratives about interstate relations .
Understanding the importance of forming a positive international
image of Ukraine the Ministry of Foreign Affairs developed an
appropriate draft concept of state program for 2007-2010. It
was the first time then that they talked about the creation of the
brand "Ukraine" as a commercial project. However, the concept
of forming the image of the country was not defined. “The work
to promote a national brand requires effort and, what is more
important, desire. Today our state is demonstrating neither the
first nor the second” .
The recent studies of North American publications, in particular,
testify to the corruption of Ukrainian authorities, increased
crime and economic collapse in Ukraine . As to the positive,
there is information about successful scientific and technical
developments, sport achievements, artistic projects. At the
same time, these journalists focus on terrible conditions in
which Ukrainian scientists, athletes, artists are working. Western
European mass media pay a bit more attention to the design
developments of Ukrainian scientists, stressing that they can
compete with American projects, but they emphasize Ukrainian
poverty and lack of freedom of speech.
In foreign policy, the emphasis is put on Ukraine’s unpredictability
and instability as an international partner, country with an
undemocratic, corrupt state system and increasing state pressure
on civil society and human rights infringement. The complex of
stereotypes is becoming widespread: Ukraine is a corrupt country
with ineffective government; Ukrainian democracy does not
meet Western standards, Ukrainian justice is selective .
At the same time, French media present Ukraine as a warrior
state, which fights for its national independence and territorial
integrity, which belongs by right. Ukraine’s image is a hero
image meant to defeat the enemy with the support of friendly
nations, namely, the European Union countries. Ukrainians are
patriotic, people of spirit . As we can see, Ukraine has already
had a certain image, so we have to speak about positive image
formation and media playing an important role in this.
Hypothesis: media construct priorities scale of Ukrainian events,
rank the problems as to their importance and, thus, shape the
perception of the world community, creating Ukraine’s image in
such a way.
Objective of the Study
On the basis of analysis of factual data and emotional coloring
of the content of the world media to determine the main
tendencies which concern the forming of the image of Ukraine
on the international arena.
The research was conducted from January 1 to March 31, 2016.
The German newspapers “Die Welt” and “Bild”, the American
newspapers “New York Times” and “New York Post”, the British
newspapers “Independent” and “The Guardian”, the Russian
newspapers “Commersant” and “Rosiiskaya Hazeta” were
The choice is determined by several factors. The common thing
is that all the named media are daily issues, have significant print
runs and the most popular online versions. All of the mentioned
newspapers position themselves as "prestigious", "important
for the whole nation," are read by political and public figures,
businessmen, journalists, and expert circles around the world.
There are also some definite peculiarities. "New York Times" is
regarded as a "prestigious" newspaper that expresses the point
of view of the elite. It is believed that this point of view is semiofficial,
but it approaches the government. It is the main provider
of information from abroad for various segments of American
society, “New York Post” has a significant influence on politics,
and this publication is considered to be the best from the point of
view of the current US president Donald Trump. "Independent"
is ideologically close to the Liberal Democratic Party, pays special
attention to the issues of human rights. “The Guardian” sticks
to the left-centric orientation, and is popular among the British
liberal readers. "Die Welt" follows the conservative direction, and
from the point of view of economic policy its position is described
as "clearly liberal". “Bild” proclaims itself as "an independent and
non-party newspaper". “Kommersant” is a social and political
newspaper with an intensive business block. "Rosiiskaya Hazeta"
is a daily edition of the Government of the Russian Federation.
The main method of research was the content analysis, both
quantitative and qualitative. Content analysis as an empirical
method was used to describe the content and formalities of
publications about Ukraine. Thus, we were able to find out
the problem-thematic orientation, its genre embodiment and the emotional coloring of the materials, the system of heading
features of the media. To determine the effectiveness of
publications about events in Ukraine that form the public opinion
about the image of the state, we used the theory of "Agendasetting".
In the analysis of the factual material the methodological
apparatus of conceptual modeling was used. Among the scientific
methods were used such as analysis, synthesis and descriptive
method for the investigation of the scientific literature, for the
determination of the importance of textual information and the
substantiation of the research results.
It is known that according to the agenda-setting theory of McCombs
and Shaw, the journalists’ choice of topics for publications, their
priorities acquire particular importance . It is the media, which
attract the audience attention to certain issues, they not only
inform, but also make some issues important. Therefore, the
“news order” becomes a criterion, a norm for a society how to
perceive the world... news media determine the public program,
defining what should be stressed out, perceived as an impetus for
reflection and, probably, for certain actions .
61 publications reflecting Ukrainian events were published on the
pages of the national German daily “Die Welt”. Such Ukrainian
issues as separatism, the Ukrainian pilot Nadiia Savchenko’s
trial, the Crimean Tatars remained in the annexed Crimea, the
negotiations between Ukraine and Germany (participation of the
latter in reconciliation of the conflict between our state and Russia,
in particular), the life of residents of the occupied territories of
Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, Chornobyl tragedy, resignation of
Arseniy Yatseniuk government, military conflict between Ukraine
and Russia became a priority for German journalists.
Let us study the most characteristic publications concerning
“How separatists torture hostages in Ukraine”  tells the story
of the journalist Maria Varfalamieieva , who was in captivity
for a long time. The woman, being already free, told about
the conditions in which separatists kept people, as well as,
their attitude towards the prisoners. The author describes in
detail tortures, malicious insults, humiliation and interrogation
procedures that are applied to hostages.
“Russia is a country of complacent dictator”  describes
one day of a prisoner’s trial. The author truly reproduces the
court atmosphere, the parties speeches, describes Savchenko’s
behavior and also comments on the probable imprisonment term
of 22 years, the pilot’s rejection and protest, her deep conviction
as to illegality of her arrest.
“Ukraine choses a representative of Crimean Tatars to sing in
Stockholm” [“Ukraine tritt mit Krimtatarin”, 2016] tells about the
results of national selection for the song contest “Eurovision –
2016”. It is known that the Ukrainian singer Jamala, a Crimean
Tartar by the origin, won with the song “1944”, which is devoted
to the tragic events of the deportation of her people. The author
of the publication tries to connect such a choice of Ukrainian
music lovers to the current events in the Crimea.
“Merkel: Ukraine puts at stake a lot”  is about the regular
negotiations between the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko
and the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel. The meeting
subject is Minsk Agreements, which, unfortunately, do not
provide peace in our country. The author makes a brief review of
the development of described event and comments on it.
“Survival in “gray zone” between the fronts”  demonstrates
the lives of the inhabitants of Kominternove village seized by the
separatists. The author depicts the psychological state of the
population separated from the state and, therefore, deprived of
state social protection.
“Chernobyl will be assisted to neutralize nuclear reactor danger”
. The author makes a historical overview, comments on
the problem of the world countries investment to shut down
the nuclear reactor, which bears danger. “Why did not Ukraine
do proper investments during almost 30 years to prevent the
tragedy of 1986?” – the author tries to give an answer due to
deep analysis of historical facts.
“Yatseniuk coalition loses majority” . The author tries to
explain the crisis causes of Ukrainian authorities. The material
was prepared at the time of the exit of “Samopomich” and
“Batkivshchyna” party from the coalition. The events in Ukraine
are shown through the perception of the Prime Minister, Arseniy
Yatseniuk. The head of government sees the problem in the
existence of a “shadow coalition”, which illegitimate activity
prevented Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the Cabinet from
“Can we tell each other where they shoot?”– The problem of
information policy and security and the role of media in the
military conflict escalation are touched upon. The author analyzes
cases when false information, published in the mass media,
destroyed the fate of representatives of different peoples. The
journalist urges to follow professional standards.
The events in Ukraine are reflected in the following sections of
the German newspaper “Die Welt” such as: politics, opinion,
panorama, culture, business, and review (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Distribution of materials as to events in Ukraine according to sections (“Die Welt”).
The genre content can be presented as follows: news items,
mails, interview, and video report (Figure 2).
Figure 2: Genre representation of materials as to events in Ukraine (“Die Welt”).
Having analyzed the content of “Die Welt”, it is possible to say
that the events of political, economic and Ukrainian social life
are urgent for German journalists, which attract attention to
such Ukrainian issues as Ukrainian authorities passivity, Russia’s
acknowledgement as an aggressor, Germany’s role in preserving
Ukraine’s sovereignty and solving urgent issues in Ukrainian
state. Ukraine is shown as a state that cannot defend itself. At
the same time, the materials of “Die Welt” position Germany
as a powerful, authoritative state able to protect our country
from the aggressor. We found 127 materials concerning Ukraine
on the pages of the online version of “Bild”. The following
Ukrainian issues were urgent for the journalists of “Bild”: Russia
is an aggressor state that supports separatism and terrorism, the
political and economic crisis in Ukraine, the war in the East of
Ukraine, Ukrainian cultural, and sport events.
The vivid examples of the coverage of these issues are the
following publications. “Putin’s propaganda is a secret war”
 tells about Russia’s intentions to destabilize the situation
in Germany, weaken the EU and isolate Germany on the
international level using propaganda and disinformation. It
is known that Federal Republic of Germany is an advocate of
countries suffering from political, economic and military pressure
from Russian Federation. The content is based on the facts
provided by competent people such as the member of Bundestag
Committee on Intelligence Surveillance Armin Schuster and the
German foreign policy expert Hans-Peter Uhl.
“Tymoshenko party leaves the government coalition” . This
article is about February events when after the failure of vote of
no-confidence to the former Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy
Yatseniuk, “Batkivshchyna” Party, headed by Yuliia Tymoshenko,
left the coalition. The author draws attention to the fact that
“Samopomich” may leave the coalition following this political
force, which will significantly weaken the government and result
in its decrease of popularity.
“Schadt visits forgotten children of war” . The article
describes a three-day visit of Daniela Schadt, the first lady of
Germany, the wife of the President Joachim Gauk, to Ukraine.
She visited Ukraine as a patroness of German branch of UNICEF.
The material says that the main purpose of Daniela Schadt’s visit
is to assess the state of children and families from Donbass. The
war in the East of Ukraine is an issue which draws attention of
many editions as it can affect Europe, having touched all spheres
of life of European countries: economic, social, political etc.
“Song about Crimean Tatars will be on Eurovision” . The most
discussed issue was the choice of a participant for Eurovision
— 2016. It was Jamala with the song “1944”, dedicated to the
deportation of the Crimean Tatars according to Stalin’s order
in 1944. Russia (the Head of Duma Vadym Dengin) commented
on Ukraine’s choice as follows: the commission decision is
provocative and of political character.
24 sections contained information about events in Ukraine:
“Foreign policy” – 54, “Football” – 11, “World News” – 3,
"Bundesliga: Season 2015-2016” – 8, “People” – 1, “Economics”
– 7, “Boxing” – 3, “News”–1, “State policy” – 18, “Music” – 1,
“Biathlon” – 1, “Hannover” – 2, “Munich” – 3, “Berlin” – 3,
“Politics” – 2, “Leipzig” – 1, “Internet” – 1, “Hamburg” – 1, “Rest
in Europe” – 1, “Dresden” – 1 and “Consultant” – 1 material. This
testifies to the wide coverage of Ukrainian issues (Figure 3).
Figure 3: Distribution of materials as to Ukrainian events (“Bild”).
It is necessary to mention that the genre content of the materials
in the online version of “Bild” is due to the principle of convergent
journalism. The publications about events in Ukraine have
been reflected in the following genre forms: multimedia story
(symbiosis of a traditional article, an interview, mails etc.), an
extended news item and a blog (Figure 4).
Figure 4: Genre presentation of materials about events in Ukraine (“Bild”).
“Bild” as well as “Die Welt” touches upon the topic of the
undeclared war between Ukraine and Russia. In the context of the
newspaper materials, Ukraine is presented as a country having
no stable political and economic systems that could ensure the
country’s dynamic development in general. At the same time, it
is emphasized that Germany is ready and able to assist Ukraine in
any sphere and help reconcile the conflict with Russian Federation
due to sanctions and negotiations. However, unlike “Die Welt”,
the journalists of “Bild” emphasize Ukraine’s prospects. This is
evident from the publications about the cultural and sports life
of the country, in particular. Compared with “Die Welt”, “Bild”
writes a lot about sports, devoting particular sections to it
(Football, Handball, Boxing, etc.). It is stressed out that Ukraine
has great potential and is ready for European integration.
174 materials about Ukraine from January 1 to March 31, 2016
were found on the internet pages of the daily newspaper “The
New York Times”, which has one of the largest circulations in the
USA. The agenda of this edition included the following Ukrainian
issues: the USA role in reconciling of the military conflict in the
East of Ukraine, Russia is an aggressor country, Russia’s pressure
on Ukraine in order to worsen its socio-economic status, the
Ukrainian pilot Nadiia Savchenko’s trial, sports and cultural life of
Ukraine. The coverage examples of these issues are the following
“Russia and the U.S. Agree to Try to Bolster Cease-Fire in Syria”
 states that America is trying again and again to prevent
aggression diplomatically on the part of Russian Federation from
which suffers not only the East of Ukraine, but also Syria. As far as
Ukraine is concerned, the United States continue to urge Russian
Federation to sit down at the negotiating table and implement
“Relying Again on an Unreliable Mr. Putin” . The publication
is of an analytical character, the main message of which is as
follows: “The central figure in the fight is Volodymyr Putin, the
president of Russia”. The author compares the conflict in the East
of Ukraine, where there are battles between Ukraine and Russian
Federation, and the war between Russia and Syria. The journalist
urges world not to trust Putin’s “peaceful steps”, the ceasefire
in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, in particular. To his mind, Putin
will make any promise to preserve his popularity and stay in the
president’s seat. Instead, the author sees many opportunities to
liquidate the “bloody dictator”.
“Russia Sues Ukraine in London Court over the Unpaid Debt
Claim” . It deals with a lawsuit as to Ukraine’s $3 billion debt
for an existing loan filed to the Supreme Court of England. The
author notes that this fact only increases tension in countries
relations that are already in the state of war. The publication
shows positive attitude towards Ukraine. Pursuing the main aim
to be objective, the journalist reflects on granting a credit that
could be accompanied by violations and it is unknown whether
the credit was used by the state: Russia allegedly invested funds
in the development of Ukraine during the presidency of Viktor
Yanukovych in 2013. This causes suspicion that money could be
pocketed by the former President and not be used as intended.
“Russian Prosecutors Seek 23-Year Prison Term for Ukrainian
Pilot”  the article deals with a long trial of the Ukrainian pilot
Nadiia Savchenko, who was groundlessly accused of shooting
Russian journalists by Russian prosecutors. During the material
preparation, the court tried to sentence the woman to 23 years
of imprisonment. The journalists question the fairness of justice
in Russian Federation, pointing at the fact that, according to Ms.
Savchenko, the rebels seized her before fire. At the same time,
the author draws attention to the fact that a soldier cannot be
considered a criminal when he fights with an enemy.
“Ukrainian Runner Fails Drug Test” . The material informs
that Ukrainian athlete Natalia Lupa took meldonium before the
competition. It is mentioned that Russian tennis player Maria
Sharapova also uses such method of improving sports results.
“Movie Listings for Feb. 19-25” [“Movie Listings for Feb. 19-25”].
The material contains short movie reviews. The list contains the
American - Ukrainian film “Maydan”, which shows the events
of the Revolution of Dignity 2013-2014, where the rebels are
shown as heroes of Ukrainian people who fight for freedom and
Thus, publications concerning Ukrainian life are found in the
following sections: “World” – 64, “Science” – 2, “USA” – 18,
“Opinion” – 23, “Cinema” – 3, “Theater” – 1, “Business” – 11,
“Multimedia” – 5, “Sport” – 18, ‘"New York / Region” – 12, “Blogs”
– 2, “Fashion and Style” – 1, “Art” – 4, “Books – 1, “Working
Day” – 2, “Your money” – 1, “Education” – 1 and “Magazine” – 5 (Figure 5).
Figure 5: Distribution of materials about events in Ukraine as to sections (“The New York Times”).
The problematic and thematic component of Ukrainian content
in the online version of “The New York Times” is reflected in the
following genre forms: a blog, an extended news item, a photo
report (Figure 6).
Figure 6: Genre presentation of materials about events in Ukraine (“The New York Times”).
Analyzing the content of “New York Times” as to Ukraine, it can
be concluded that the newspaper positions the United States as the most effective fighter against Russian aggression, which
destabilized life in Ukraine and caused its political, economic and
social decline. The publication blames any negative actions of
Russian Federation, aimed at Ukraine. The American newspaper
is completely on Ukraine’s side. At the same time, one can trace
the idea that the United States cannot see the prospect for
Ukrainian authorities to resolve the conflict without assistance.
Therefore, Ukraine needs a “Big Brother” who would assume
responsibility for the future.
During the period from January 1 to May 31, 2016, 22 materials
about Ukraine were published in the online version of “New
York Post”, which is one of the oldest Americans weekly with the
The agenda of the online version of “New York Post” the
following Ukrainian events were covered: Russia is a provoker of
military actions in various parts of the world, including the East
of Ukraine, Ukrainians abroad, sports topics, boxing, air transport
of Ukraine. The editorial policy in Ukrainian events coverage can
be demonstrated on the example of the following publications.
“Vladimir Putin will only become more murderous and dangerous”
. The author is shocked by the abnormally positive attitude of
the Russian citizens towards their president, who has repeatedly
proved the world his authoritarianism and dictatorship. The
journalist draws attention to the fact that Putin acts insidiously
and nurtures plans for destabilization of world politics, economics
etc. The annexation of the Crimea, the military actions in the East
of Ukraine – “in both operations he used veiled forces, smiling, he
denied his involvement in everything”, — the author concludes.
“23-year-old fake high school student confesses to having sex
with minor”  informs how a Ukrainian had been able to
deceive the US authorities and police for a long time, successfully
study at a US school, live in a foster family and to be an activist
among teenagers. The man pretended to be an eighteen year old
and used documents issued for Asher Potts. After being arrested,
Arthur confessed to have sex with a minor.
“Meet Charles Martin, heavyweight hope with Holyfield
as mentor”  is a brief story of success of the American
professional boxer Charles Martin, where the name of Ukrainian
boxer Viacheslav Hlazkov as a rival of the American is mentioned.
In addition, there is a brief announcement of the return fight
between Volodymyr Klychko and Tyson Fury.
“You’re more likely to be killed intentionally on an airplane than
accidentally”  is a journalistic investigation of the world plane
crashes, which took place in recent years. The author mentions
the terrible crash of Malaysian Boeing 777-200 of Malaysia
Airlines which made a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur
and on July 17, 2014 crashed near Torez, which borders on
Luhansk oblast. The publication states: the plane was really shot
down by DPR terrorist group, which fights in the East of Ukraine.
The sections content, which includes publications as to Ukraine is
as follows: “News” – 17, “Video” – 1 and “Opinion” – 4 materials (Figure 7).
Figure 7: Distribution of materials as to events in Ukraine according to sections (“The New York Post”).
The problematic and thematic content of publications as to Ukraine was presented by the following genre forms: extended
news items, video reports, blogs and articles (Figure 8).
Figure 8: Genre representation of materials as to events in Ukraine (“The New York Post”).
New York Post informs about global developments in Ukraine,
which other media consider insignificant: military conflict
between Ukraine and Russian Federation. The aggression on
the part of Russian Federation is considered not locally, but in
the context of world military actions. Also New York Post deals
with such topics as plane crashes over the territory of Ukraine,
illegal stay of a Ukrainian in the United States etc. There is such an impression that the publication tries to show the Ukrainian
authorities inability to “survive” in the modern world.
During the mentioned period, 31 publications about events in
Ukraine were found in the content of the online version of “The
Guardian”, which is one of the most influential newspapers in
The following events of Ukrainian life were urgent for this
English edition: military operations in the East of Ukraine, trial
of Ukrainian pilot Nadiia Savchenko, cooperation with IMF,
decommunization process, Chornobyl tragedy, offshore of highlevel
officials, Ukraine’s victory in Eurovision-2016, undeclared
war between Ukraine and Russia. The abovementioned events
are reflected in the following publications.
“In Wartime: Stories from Ukraine by Tim Judah review – humane
and haunting” . In fact it is the presentation of Tim Judah’s
book about the conflict in the East of Ukraine. The journalist
focuses on the author’s painstaking work as to true coverage of
“Ukrainian pilot given 22-year jail sentence by Russian court”
. It tells about Nadiia Savchenko verdict, providing comments
from lawyers of Ukrainian and Russian parties, and describes the
ambiguous reaction of the audience at the moment of reading
out the sentence.
“IMF warns Ukraine it will halt $40bn bailout unless corruption
stops” . The IMF chairman, Christine Lagarde, is concerned
about the possibility of granting $ 40 billion tranche to Ukraine.
Her concern is conditioned by the fact that Ukraine is ranked as
one of the most corrupt countries of the world; inflation rate
is constantly increasing resulting in hryvnia devaluation and
decrease in population solvency. The Ukrainian politician Pavlo
Klimkin asks not to escalate the situation as Christine Lagarde’s
reflections are a remark, not last warning.
“Removing the statues of Lenin won't decommunise Ukraine”
. It informs about t the dismantling of Lenin monument
in Zaporizhzhia. The article, written immediately after the
event, describes the monument and difficulties that arose
while dismantling. The author, reflecting on the architecture
of Zaporizhzhia and other Ukrainian cities, concludes that
the monument demolition was only a small step towards city
renewal. Soviet style of urban planning strongly affected the
architecture of Zaporizhzhia. “Chernobyl disaster 30 years
on: what do you remember?” The author, reminding the
main historical facts and the impact of radiation emissions on
human health and environment, emphasizes that the terrible
catastrophe has become a disaster not only for Soviet Union, but
also for the whole world.“Ukraine’s leader set up secret offshore
firm as battle raged with Russia”. The publication focuses on the
report on the hidden assets of the leaders of different countries,
the documents that reveal offshore activities of the President
of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, in particular. The author gives
Poroshenko’s official comments on the legitimacy of such a
campaign and portrays the society response to such President’s
“Ukraine’s Eurovision entry takes aim at Russian oppression”
[Brown, 2016]. It tells about sharp criticism as to Jamala and her
contest song on the part of Russian politicians. The author cites
the singer’s words, who devoted her song to the deportation of
the Crimean Tatars in XX century and gives the background of
that terrible page in the history of the Crimea.
“The missing: what have they done with our sons?” .
The article considers the destiny of the peaceful Ukrainian
population, which appeared in the midst of military operations.
The author tells about mothers’ grief, their disbelief in the state
future, because their sons died in the war. The article shows the
miserable life of ordinary people and the state’s attitude to them.
It tells about some heroes who personify many soldiers.
The publications about Ukraine were included to such sections
as “News” – 25, “Politics” – 2, “World” – 4 materials (Figure 9).
Figure 9: Distribution of materials as to events in Ukraine according to sections (“The Guardian”).
It is necessary to mention one peculiarity of the editorial policy
of the newspaper: the post of “People’s Editor”, i.e. a person
defending the interests of readers.
The problematic and thematic content of publications as to
Ukraine was presented by the following genre forms: extended
news item, article, and mails (Figure 10).
Figure 10: Genre representation of materials as to events in Ukraine (“The Guardian “).
“The Guardian” is the most reserved in its judgments and is
characterized by neutral attitude in covering events in Ukraine.
The publications that deal mostly with the conflict between
Ukraine and Russian Federation can be found on its pages. Russia
is perceived as an aggressor, but at the same time, we have
not found strong accusations against Russia. The edition covers
cultural and sport life in Ukraine not commenting on the level
and nature of their development.
59 materials as to events in Ukraine appeared in online version
of “Independent” during the mentioned period. The edition
journalists called the following issues in Ukraine’s life the most
urgent: Malaysian plane crash, political and economic crises in
Ukraine, Chornobyl catastrophe, cultural and sport life of Ukraine.
The peculiarities of Ukrainian issues coverage is illustrated by the
“Suspect arrested over attempted assassination of chief forensic
expert in MH17 probe” . The article states that an attempt
on the head of investigation team was made to slow down the
investigation of reasons of the crash of plane flying from the
Netherlands to Malaysia. The author reminds that 298 people
died as a result of the tragedy and most of them were European
citizens. The article gives the comment of the commission
chairman, confirming that the aircraft was shot down by a
missile. The main issue remains to determine a perpetrator of
the catastrophe, as at that time it was unknown from which
territory the missile was launched.
“International blacklist of tax havens will be drawn up” .
The article deals with the response to the publication of an
international journalist investigation as to the establishment of
offshore companies on the Virgin Islands by various officials and
the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, in particular, who
founded an offshore company during the war conflict in the East
“Super-structure to cover Chernobyl preventing radiation from
escaping for the next century” . The newspaper informs
about the construction of a protective sarcophagus over
Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant, the completion of which had
been scheduled by the end of 2018. The £ 1.2 billion project was
the result of the collaboration of leading scientists, engineers and
designers from all over the world. As the project manager said
such construction was a real challenge for scientists.
“Eurovision 2016: Over to you, Russia” . The author assures
that despite the seriousness of topic, the song is easily perceived
and will have a chance to succeed in the contest. Moreover, he
reminds that Russian officials blamed the singer for outright
provocation and slander.
“Andriy Yarmolenko: Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool on alert
as Ukraine coach implores Premier League move” . The
publication tells about the possible purchase of the national team
player by one of the British clubs. The football player is currently
assessed in £ 25 million. According to the head coach Mykhaylo
Fomenko, the footballer has every chance to show a good result
during the matches and to prove himself a professional. The
Ukrainian content is represented in such sections as “Politics” – 25, “World” – 12, “Voices” – 22 publications (Figure 11).
Figure 11: Distribution of materials as to events in Ukraine according to sections (“Independent”).
The genre content of the materials in the online version of
“Independent” is due to the principle of convergent journalism:
multimedia story (symbiosis of a traditional article, an interview,
mails etc.), an extended news item and a blog (Figure 12).
Figure 12: Genre representation of materials as to events in Ukraine (“Independent”).
It is obvious that “Independent” brings to the forefront the issue
of the undeclared war in the East of Ukraine. However, there are
not many materials about the conflict and the peculiarities of its
deployment. The military aggression is mostly viewed through
the prism of other events. For example, the victory of Jamala in
the national selection to participate in Eurovision with a song
about the deportation of Crimean Tatars in 1944 is regarded
as a political manoeuvre of our state. The journalists say that
Ukrainians are trying to attract attention of the world community
in such a way. 272 materials about Ukraine were published on
the pages of Russian daily “Commersant” during the above
The publication agenda included the following Ukrainian events:
activity of the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, military
conflict in the East of Ukraine, Minsk Agreements, gas supply
from Russia, the Crimea as a federal district of Russian Federation,
trial of the Ukrainian pilot Nadiia Savchenko, migration of
Ukrainian citizens to Russia, crisis of Ukrainian government.
The peculiarities of Ukrainian issues coverage are most clearly
presented by such publications. “For Poroshenko elections in
Donbass is collapse of Ukrainian politics” . The publications
contain critical assessment of Poroshenko’s activity. The author
states that the president cannot stabilize the situation in the
country and the only thing that he is really anxious about is to
keep the position of the state head. The journalist writes that
Poroshenko is concerned about the election in so called DPR,
which may lead to power seizure by the supporters of “Russian
world” and, in its turn, it will result in a conflict inside the country
and may do much harm to his reputation.
“Most likely the conflict in Donbass remains frozen for a long
time” . It informs that Petro Poroshenko, making speech
in the US Congress, urged the world community to strengthen
sanctions against Russia. The journalist emphasizes that such
words worth nothing and will result in nothing. “In general, there
are so many contradictions that it seems that a hope for some
kind of changes vanished ago, although both the United States
and West promised to end the conflict”, — concluded the author.
“Angela Merkel urged Volodymyr Putin to “influence the
separatists” . It tells about a telephone conversation
between the President of Russian Federation and the Chancellor
of Germany, during which the leaders discussed the ways to
resolve conflict in Ukraine, emphasized the obligatory nature
of Minsk Agreements and also agreed to continue work within
the framework of “Normandy format”. Merkel’s office urged Mr.
Putin to “influence the separatists” in Donbass and ensure access
for OSCE observers to all areas of the conflict, the state border of
Ukraine, in particular. The President of Russian Federation and
the German Chancellor discussed the future of the constitutional
reform in Ukraine and the local elections in Donbass in accordance with the legislation agreed with the authorities of Donetsk and
“Gazprom” plans to supply gas to Ukraine up to 2018” . The
publication informs the readers that Gazprom continued gas
export for three years more. However, Ukrainian authorities
assure their citizens that it is not necessary to buy Russian gas
and the gas independence from Moscow is considered the main
achievement of the government. Thus, the author stresses the
differences in the words and actions of the ruling elite of Ukraine.
“Sergey Aksenov was not entrusted with Federal Targeted
Program of the Crimea Development” . The article deals with
the development of “new” territory of Russian Federation and
new business rules, in particular. Thus, we can assume that the
editorial board considers the annexation of the Crimea to be
“The Kremlin admits the theoretical possibility of Nadiia
Savchenko’s exchange” . It is the history of the Ukrainian
pilot trial, who was accused of Russian journalists shooting. The
author notes that there is a possibility for Nadiia Savchenko’s
exchange, but the President Volodymyr Putin should approve it.
As we already know, after a while Savchenko was sentenced to
22 years in prison, so the amnesty from the President of Russia
did not follow.
“Who is the master in the house?” . The article informs that
in the conditions of economic crisis, the number of Ukrainians
willing to go to Russia has increased in order to work as a servant,
a nanny etc. It is noted that Russia as a peacemaker allows
Ukrainians to come to avoid military service in ATO zone.
“Arseniy Yatseniuk’s government will go down in history next
few days" . It is said that Batkivshchyna Party leader Yuliia
Tymoshenko is dissatisfied with the activity of the present
government and, first of all, prime-minister Arseniy Yatseniuk.
“Batkivshchyna” has already left the coalition and is expecting
the resignation of the prime minister. The author notes that in
the near past Arseniy Yatseniuk and Yuliia Tymoshenko were
allies. The Ukrainian content is represented in such sections as
“Country” (24 materials), “World” (238 materials), “Economics”
(10 materials) (Figure 13).
Figure 13: Distribution of materials as to events in Ukraine according to sections (“Commersant”).
All materials as to events in Ukraine are written in the genre of
an extended news item. “Commersant” most often touches on
Ukrainian-Russian conflict in Donbass and the Crimea as a federal
district of Russian Federation. However, it is emphasized that such
measures are forced and the problems are made up by Ukraine.
The Crimea was separated from Ukraine in order to protect
Russian-speaking citizens and there were no soldiers of Russian
Federation in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts at all (it is a civil war
for the right to enter Russia, which is as a defender and guarantor
of stability). It should be taken into account that “Коммерсант”
has never named military operations in Ukraine a war. It can be
“concluded” that Ukraine is stuck in problems and is unable to
solve them on its own from Ukrainian content of “ Commersant”.
Ukraine gave own destiny at the mercy of Europe and the United
States instead of accepting the assistance of the neighboring
country with which it had exclusively friendly relationship for a long time. Having done that Ukrainian authorities are even in
more trouble, demonstrating ineffectiveness and causing general
impoverishment of the people. However, Russia positions itself
as a peacemaker which is always ready to come to rescue.
While studying “Rosiiskaya Hazeta” which is an official edition
of the Government of Russian Federation, 1357 publications covering events in Ukraine were found. Such Ukrainian issues as
non-participation of the Kremlin in events in Ukraine, annexation
of the Crimea, political crisis in Ukraine, Nadiia Savchenko’s trial,
the EU manipulates Ukraine, Russia offers Ukrainians help were
urgent for this official publication.
Let us consider the most characteristic of them. “Was it again
Moscow which launches a grenade?”  tells about the
explosion near the car of Deputy Volodymyr Parasiuk. The author
supposes that Russia’s supporters will again be suspected in
order to escalate the conflict between neighboring countries.
The journalist writes that it has become a tradition lately to
accuse pro-Russian activists in Ukraine. The author assumes
negative attitude towards the policy of Ukrainian government
and Volodymyr Parasyuk, in particular. Moreover he even comes
down to personal insults: “Until then the doctors had already
injected Parasiuk sedatives, prone to hysterics, and the police
tried to find traces of an attack on the parking lot”.
“Aksenov: Ukraine has run out of pressure methods on the
Crimea” . It defends the Kremlin’s position as to legality of
the Crimea’s joining to Russia; the journalist informs the readers
that Ukraine makes pressure on the inhabitants of the Crimea
to make them return to Ukraine. “Ukrainian authorities use all
available “weapons” from stopping supplies of water, electricity
and food to propaganda and threat of military invasion. These
actions cause resentment and disgust of inhabitants of the
Crimea. The humanitarian aggression of the neighboring state
united us more. We are convinced that the choice made two
years ago was right “, — states Sergey Aksenov.
“Rada still fevers” . It says that the resignation of the Prime
Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk, which did not take
place, deepened the political crisis. “At the same time, the issue
of pre-term elections remains central, however, the game of
Ukrainian political players was spoilt by Mykhaylo Saakashvili’s
“anti-corruption” party project, which is gaining popularity.
Incidentally, when Poroshenko met with his deputies, the car
of the US ambassador Jeffrey Payet was spotted by the local
paparazzi at the entrance to the Cabinet building,” — informs
“Hope was not justified” . The article informs that Ukrainian
pilot was sentenced to 22 years of imprisonment: “The General
Prosecutor Office is satisfied with the court verdict in the criminal
case of Ukrainian citizen Nadiia Savchenko, who was found guilty
of committing a felony — murder of civilians, illegal crossing of
state border”. The Kremlin's position is easily traced: “The crimes
motive was hatred towards the social group of the inhabitants of
Luhansk oblast, as well as to Russian-speaking people in general”.
“From Rhine to Dnipro”  It states that Ukraine in order to
please Europe agreed to accept 250 refugees from Syria on its
territory and place them in Yahotyn in houses built for them
near Kiev. It is also stated the following: “It turned out that the
funds for the completion were allocated by the government in
accordance with “Action Plan on Visa Liberalization and Action
Plan on Implementation of the Association Agreement”. Armen
Shakhariants, the deputy of Kyiv city council, published this
information on his page in social networks. His quote states: “Rich
Europe does not want to accept refugees, but poor Ukraine, even
being in war state, has to. Yagotyn is a small city, 250 refugees
will become a nightmare for it. We have more than a million
of own refugees in Ukraine. Ukrainians themselves are looking
for opportunities to escape somewhere. And we are ready to
accept refugees in our country, when hundreds of families of
ATO participants are in queues for housing”. Thus, the following
conclusion can be made as to the idea of publication: Ukraine as
a state cannot provide social guarantees for its citizens.
“To settle down will be simpler for Ukrainian refugees in
Russia” . The publication clearly demonstrates the efforts of
journalists of “Российская Газета” to convince their readers that
Russia is a peacemaker and emphasize the aggressive policy of
Ukraine. “The government has submitted to State Duma a draft
bill as to simplified procedure for issuing a temporary residence
permit in Russia to foreigners who had to leave Ukraine by force”,
— said the statement. Moreover, it informs about measures
providing comfortable and legitimate stay of Ukrainians on the
territory of Russian Federation: “As it was reported a month ago,
the government would allocate almost 3 billion rubles in 2016
to support refugees from Ukraine in the regions of Russia. The
Prime Minister signed the corrspondent decrees on January 26”.
Thus, the content of the newspaper as to events in Ukraine
was reflected in the following sections: “Authorities” – 402 ,
“Economics” – 51, “World” – 467, “Events” – 172 , “Society” –
180 , “Sport” – 31 and “Culture” – 54 materials (Figure 14). The
problematic and thematic content of publications as to Ukraine
was presented by the following genre forms as an article, mails,
an extended news item, which represent news genre (Figure
15). The editorial policy of “Rosiiskaya Hazeta” is similar to
“Commersant”: Russia denies its involvement in destabilizing
of general situation in the world (the deployment of military
operations in a number of countries etc.). Ukraine is perceived as
inconsistent state, which is led by Europe and America. Russia is a
peacemaker, which is not understood in the world. The materials
of “Российская Газета” are aimed at undermining the authority
Figure 14: Distribution of materials as to events in Ukraine according to sections (“Rosiiskaya Hazeta”).
Figure 15: Genre representation of materials as to events in Ukraine (“Rosiiskaya Hazeta”).
During the investigation it was found out that during the period
from January 1 to March 31, 2016, in the investigated media
were published 2103 journalistic materials devoted to events in
Ukraine. The number of publications is far from proportional. The
greatest attention paid the newspapers of the Russian Federation
- 1629 materials, which is 78% (“Rosiiskaya Hazeta” - 1357,
“Commersant” - 272). The following are: the USA – 196, that is
9% (“The New York Times” - 174, “New York Post” - 22); Germany
- 188, the same 9% (“Bild” - 127, “Die Welt” - 61); England – 90,
that is 4% (“Independent” - 59, “The Guardiane” - 31). The ratio
of publications in percent is shown in Figure 16.
Figure 16: Distribution of materials as to events in Ukraine in world media.
Regarding the sections, the content dedicated to the events in
Ukraine often took place in the “News” - 422 times, “World” -
401, and “Politics” - 156. Significantly less news were found in
such sections as “Economy”, “Sport” and “Opinion” (Figure 17).
Figure 17: Distribution of Ukraine issue materials according to the sections in the world media.
Among the the most widely spread genres an expanded article
was often used - 1121, an article or its version adapted to the
Internet media - multimedia history - 403, correspondence - 211.
In the content of the publications about Ukraine, the following
topics were touched the most: the military conflict Ukraine-
Russia (annexation of the Crimea, the socio-economic and
humanitarian situation in the East of Ukraine, prisoners destiny,
the trial of Nadia Savchenko); the political crisis and authorities
corruption in the country; low living standards of Ukrainian
citizens; Ukrainian sports and culture. Concerning local problems, one should mention Chernobyl tragedy. This issue is touched on
by almost every edition, because in 2016 it had been 30 years
since the explosion at the nuclear power station, which resulted
in terrible consequences. The most debated cultural issue was
the Eurovision Song Contest-2016, the victory of the singer from
Ukraine Jamala with the song "1944".
The image of state head, high-ranking officials and politicians
is important for the perception of the state in the international
arena. Based on our analysis, we have outlined the rating of
public figures that are most often mentioned in the context of
Ukraine. Volodymyr Putin was mentioned the most often - in
1325 materials, Petro Poroshenko – in 926. Also were mentioned:
Arseniy Yatseniuk - 652, Barack Obama - 610, Angela Merkel -
547 (Figure 18).
Figure 18: Rating of high-ranking officials according to Ukrainian issue materials in the world media.
The dynamics of the world globalization processes of the
information epoch, the main factor of the state's success on
the international arena, made its image, which was formed
first of all, by mass media. Based on the methods of content
analysis, analysis and synthesis, we studied the peculiarities of
coverage of events in our country in each of the investigated media separately, which made it possible to draw the general
conclusions. A thorough analysis of each newspaper gave us
the opportunity to consider the nature of the presentation of
information in various aspects.
In the process of studying the factual data and the emotional
coloring of the content of the world media concerning the
determination of the main tendencies of forming the image of
Ukraine on the international arena, we came to the conclusion
that the editorial policy in coverage of Ukrainian events in the
media of Germany, USA, England and Russia is significantly
different. First of all, the tendencies of the attitude towards
Ukraine of the states, where a particular newspaper is presented,
is reflected in the media content.
The analyzed German newspapers “Die Welt” and “Bild” affect
Russia's aggression against Ukraine. Russia appears as an
aggressor state that supports separatism and terrorism. Ukraine
is assessed as neither being able to protect itself independently,
nor having a stable political and economic system that could
provide it with dynamic development. At the same time,
Germany is positioned as a mighty, authoritative state, which is
able to protect Ukraine from the aggressor, to provide it with
support in any sphere.
The most important issues on the agenda of the American
newspapers “The New York Times” and “New York Post” are
the following Ukrainian topics: the role of the US in resolving
the military conflict in the East of Ukraine, Russia - an aggressive
country that provokes hostilities in various parts of the world, as
well as presses Ukraine in order to deteriorate its socio-economic
The military actions in the East of Ukraine, as well as cooperation
with the IMF, offshores of the high-ranking officers, political and
economic crises in Ukraine, are the main publications which draw the image of Ukraine in the English newspapers “Independent”
and “The Guardian”. Showing the Russian Federation as an
aggressor we do not find any loud accusations to its address on
the pages of these publications. In general, English newspapers
are the most restrained in their judgments and their position is
closer to neutral.
The most cardinal interpretation of the events in Ukraine is given
in the newspapers “Commersant” and the “Rosiiskaya Hazeta”.
The characteristic feature for these media is an undeniable
support and approval of the actions of the authorities and
President V. Putin, a categorical denial of military aggression
against Ukraine. The Crimea is determined as a federal district
of the Russian Federation. The journalists clearly stand on the
side of the policies of their own state and do not recognize it
as the one that destabilizes the general situation in the world.
According to this concept, the relevant facts are selected. Ukraine
is positioned as the one that is waging war in Donbas against its
people. In the Ukrainian authorities can be found a deep crisis,
the economy practically does not function, therefore, there is a
significant migration of citizens to Russia. The European Union
and the United States manipulate Ukraine.
In general, as the content analysis has showed, Ukraine is
represented on the international arena not in the best light. It
is mostly considered to be in a crisis because of the conflict with
Russia. Being in the undeclared war, it is a victim country that
cannot solve its own problems without help of the influential
states. Emphasizing the problems preventing Ukrainian people
from successful development, building an independent,
democratic state, the foreign media not only inform the world
community and shape image of Ukraine and the nation, but also
attract the attention of world community to events threating
other peoples and caution them.
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- Relying Again on an Unreliable Mr. Putin.
- Kramer A (2016) Russia Sues Ukraine in London Court over the Unpaid Debt Claim.
- Ukrainian Runner Fails Drug Test.
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- 23-year-old fake high school student confesses to having sex with minor.
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- You’re more likely to be killed intentionally on an airplane than accidentally.
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- IMF warns Ukraine it will halt $40bn bailout unless corruption stops.
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- Hyde L (2016) The missing: what have they done with our sons?
- Withnall A (2016) Suspect arrested over attempted assassination of chief forensic expert in MH17 probe.
- International blacklist of tax havens will be drawn up.
- Blood R (2016) Super-structure to cover Chernobyl preventing radiation from escaping for the next century.
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