« 2023. # 2 (170)

The Ethnology Notebooks. 2023. № 2 (170), 324—342

UDK:  355.1-057.36(477)+355.1-057.36(470+571)]:004.77

DOI https://doi.org/10.15407/nz2023.02.324

THE ARMED FORCES OF UKRAINE AND THE TROOPS OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION IN MEMES OF THE UKRAINIAN DIGITAL SPACE: HUMOR, POLITICAL IDEAS AND IDEOLOGICAL IMAGES

RYABCHENKO Olga

  • ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1249-2482
  • Doctor of Science (History), Professor,
  • Head of the Department of World History,
  • H.S. Skovoroda Kharkiv National Pedagogical University,
  • 29, Alchevsky str., 61002, Kharkiv, Ukraine,
  • Contacts: e-mail: lerche555@ukr.net

Abstract. Internet memes, along with other concise genres of discourse of modern means of mass communication, confidently conquer the digital space, turning into a socially important communicative unit. They are understood as repetitive and highly intertextual multimodal images and texts. In accordance with the growth of their popularity, the interest of scientists in this phenomenon of modern mass culture is also growing.

The article analyzes the peculiarities of the formation of images of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and russian troops in memetic constructions from the beginning of the full-scale war of russia in Ukraine until recently and the semantic characteristics that form the image of soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and enemies; it is tracked what kind of information turned into memes and how it happened; the most effective stories are singled out in terms of the speed of their distribution and audience preference on the Internet.

As a spontaneous product of mass culture, an instant reaction of people to some news or event, memes effectively influence the formation of an image of both the russian army and the Armed Forces of Ukraine. One of the most common storylines in memes is the attitude towards the aggressor and its army. In creating the image of individual russian soldiers and the army as a whole, an important place is occupied by stylistic devices, in particular epithets, metaphors, comparisons, thanks to which the enemy appears to the reader as funny and even ugly, its command is weak, and the army has lost the image of the second in the world and invincible, and began to be perceived as a gathering of marauders and an army of shame. This is reinforced by the visual range — the use of photographs, scenes from famous films, works of art or humorous images, as well as color and font. In contrast to the defamation and dehumanization of the image of the enemy army, memes and comments under them glorified our heroes, our Armed Forces.

Internet memes are the latest powerful tools of information warfare, political PR technologies, and military propaganda, as they strongly influence our consciousness. On the one hand, they are an element of war that can be compared in strength to the most powerful propaganda. On the other hand, memes provide emotional support, contribute to increasing the confidence of Ukrainians in victory over the enemy, and help overcome the traumatic burden of wartime.

The research used memes collected by the author from the beginning of the full-scale invasion of the troops of the russian Federation into Ukraine and until recently in various Ukrainian social networks.

Keywords: russian-Ukrainian war, memes, russian troops, ideological image, Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Received 17.03.2023

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