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Unveiling the War and Constructing Identities: Exploring Memes in Ukrainian and Russian Social Media during the Russian Invasion of Ukraine


The article examines the generation and deployment of visual narratives in Ukrainian and Russian digital participatory cultures, with a specific focus on internet memes in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It analyzes the form, content, and functions of these memes and highlights their similarity in mobilizing and conveying political messages despite variations in their visual components. The study indicates that Ukrainian memes are used not only to promote political agendas but also serve as trauma coping and collective identity construction mechanisms in times of crisis, helping to promote new war narratives that are engaged in the construction of the self and the other.


popular culture, memes, social media, multimodal analysis, visual discourse

Research Article (PDF)

Author Biography

Alina Mozolevska

Alina Mozolevska is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Philology, Petro Mohyla Black Sea National University (Mykolaiv, Ukraine). She holds a PhD in Linguistics with a major in Romance Languages from Taras Shevchenko National University in Kyiv, Ukraine (2015). Her research interests include media studies, discourse analysis, and border studies, and she has published on borders and identity in literary and political discourses.  Mozolevska was a visiting professor at the UniGR-Center for Border Studies, Saarland University (the Volkswagen Foundation project "Borders in Crisis", Saarbrücken, Germany). Currently she is a ZOiS UNET Ukraine-based Fellow 2023-2024 and an affilated member of HEPP (University of Helsinki, Finland).