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The Aleksanteri Institute

Unioninkatu 33 (P.O. Box 42)
00014 University of Helsinki

Past Aleksanteri Conferences

Liudmila Voronova (Södertörn University, Sweden)

Russian Journalists Moving to Ukraine: Russophone Journalism Culture, "Imagined Communities" and Challenges of Adjusting

Since 2013, scholars have been discussing events happening in Ukraine from the perspective of the “war of narratives” (Khaldarova and Pantti 2016). In this war, information has become one of the main weapons (Hoskins and O’Loughlin 2010), and fight for the publics has crossed the borders of the ordinary economic and political struggles. Previous research has mainly focused on the attempts of the Russian mainstream state-controlled media to influence the Russian-speaking audiences in Ukraine, Russia and elsewhere by spreading pro-Kremlin propaganda (see Pantti 2016). Less attention has been given to the Ukrainian media community and the internal processes in it in the period of crisis (Bolin, Jordan & Ståhlberg 2016). Being a part of the research project ”From nation branding to information war”, this paper focuses on a very particular group of the representatives of the Ukrainian media community – Russian journalists who moved to Ukraine and work for Ukrainian audiences. This paper applies the theoretical prism of “imagined audiences” (e.g. Litt and Hargitai 2016, boyd 2008) and “imagined communities” (Anderson 2006). The analysis is based on semi-structured interviews with seven journalists conducted in 2017. What are the motivations behind their choice of the new geographic location and place of work? What are the challenges that they face adjusting to the new journalism culture and how do they see their role in the “war of narratives”? How do they imagine and perceive their audiences? And how do they relate to the language issue, as Ukrainian language is becoming more and more dominant both in broadcast and printed media?