Online Talk on May 14: Ukrainian Social Media Influencers during the Russian War of Aggression

The final Online Talk for the acadenic year 2023/4 sees Nuppu Pelevina, Oksana Domina, and Salla-Maaria Laaksonen discuss Ukrainian social media influencers during the Russo-Ukrainian war.

It is time for this season’s final edition of Online Talks on Russian Media, TaRC and the Russian Media Lab’s (University of Helsinki) collaborative initiative!

In May, we will hear from Oksana Domina, Nuppu Pelevina, and Salla-Maaria Laaksonen (all from the University of Helsinki) who will present their research Instagram as an affective battlefield – Ukrainian inspirational influencers as strategic narrators.

Their study explores the different roles Ukrainian social media influencers have adopted during Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine starting in February 2022.

Drawing from scholarship on social media influencers’ politization, international relations’ conceptualization of strategic narratives and theories of affectivity in the public sphere, Pelevina, Domina, and Laaksonen show how influencers navigate between commercial, political and lifestyle content in the communication environment changed by the war.

They function as information disseminators by spreading information and amplifying Ukrainian strategic narratives, as social activists by calling their followers to participate by donating, and as inspirational influencers promoting Ukrainian culture and nationalistic narratives of history. Influencers bring the horrors and the exceptionality of the war to their followers while also showing and living its everydayness.

Speaker bios:

Nuppu Pelevina (M.Sc.) is a doctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki, the Faculty of Social Sciences, and a university teacher at the University of Vaasa, School of Marketing and Communication. In her doctoral dissertation, she studies the changing dynamics of global political communication. Drawing from International Relations scholarship and communications studies, she examines social media influencers’ roles during the Russian war in Ukraine.

Oksana Domina (PhD) is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki (Finland), assistant professor at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv (Ukraine), and Executive Director of the NGO Ukrainian Union of Marketing Experts. Her research interests encompass areas such as the modern stage of marketing in Ukraine, marketing development models, and war marketing.

Salla-Maaria Laaksonen (D.Soc.Sc., Docent) is a senior researcher at the Centre for Consumer Society Research, University of Helsinki. Her research areas are technology, organizations, and new media, including social evaluation of organizations in the hybrid media system, the organization of online social movements, and the use of data and algorithms in organizations. She is also an expert in digital and computational research methods.

Event info:

This Online Talk will be held on Zoom on Tuesday 14 May from 12.00 to 13.30 (Helsinki time, GMT+3). The discussion will be moderated by Dr Olga Dovbysh (University of Helsinki).

If you wish to participate and receive emails with updates about future Online Talks, please leave your contact information here by noon on Monday 13 May (Helsinki time). If you have already subscribed to the Online Talks mailing list, you do not need to register again! You will receive further information via email.