Retelling Old Stories with New Media: National Identity and Transnationalism in the “Russian Spring” Popular Uprisings
AbstractThe ongoing armed conflict in Ukraine was preceded by pro-Russian uprisings in major cities in the east and south of the country. These uprisings, sometimes referred to as the “Russian Spring,” were a reaction to the success of the Euromaidan, which ousted President Viktor Ianukovych. The downfall of his pro-Russian regime, coupled with aggressive propaganda, created an outrage that culminated in thousands of protesters taking to the streets. Their demands were justified by distinct “imaginings” of Ukraine’s and Russia’s national identities. The Anti-Maidan—a pro-Russian movement—actively utilized social media in order to promote its vision of Ukraine’s future, past, and present. This paper investigates articulations of national belonging by the Anti-Maidan. Its findings reveal that the Anti-Maidan’s national “imagination” is represented by a bricolage of Soviet and Slavic symbols and advocates non-progressive changes.
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