Ukraine's image in terms of hybrid war

Author : Tetiana Vodotyka Magda Eugen

Source : 112 Ukraine

Ukraine should work on a positive nation branding instead of denying another fake news created by hostile propaganda
23:27, 18 October 2016

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Russian aggression against Ukraine will not only become a strategic threat to Ukrainian independence, it gave our country a chance to get out of the Kremlin's sphere of influence.

But it is necessary to radically change the approach to the positioning of Ukraine in the world.

The country needs a consistent, persistent, daily and long-term work on its own image in the world. Actual problem of image and image-makers is not to fix the status quo and to amend and show reality in a favorable light.

Related: Top 10 fakes of the Russian propaganda about Ukraine in 2015

Ukraine has enough positive arguments in its favor, it is only necessary to "pack" and offer both its own citizens (this is a mandatory requirement in the modern world) and external consumers.

The primary task is to get rid of the national inferiority complex because the "wenches" has passed in the nineteenth century, and the constant whining is hardly able to evoke positive emotions surrounding world. Despite difficult economic and political situation at the national level, we should find arguments in favor of Ukraine and create a "unique offer" to cooperate with our country.

Modern Europe knows many examples of successful positioning, so the geographic location ("crossroads of opportunity") and the size of the state ("Space of Change") and the Ukrainian wish to protect their own interests ("nation with pride") can be the basis for effective branding countries.

Related: Russian propaganda TV channel No1 to be checked by Ofcom

Even national specifics and current status ("camouflage embroidery") can be used to position the country.

Over the past two years, Ukraine has always attracted attention and mythology of "unbowed nation" through confrontation with Russia - the world's largest country with the second largest nuclear arsenal - has received a new impetus for use in the media.

Related: Websites containing anti-Ukrainian propaganda should be blocked, - MP

We need to stop emphasizing our differences and isolation, away from the dichotomy of "we are good - they are bad." This approach not only lost relevance, but also shows the weakness of state position.

Anyway, aware international community already sees Ukraine as an independent state, not just the province of the Russian-Soviet empire.

Related: Kremlin Watch: How Russian propaganda depicts European leaders?

Strategic goals

  1. Formulation desired location Ukraine at the level of Central and Eastern Europe (regional leader), Europe (a key element of security), the world in general.
  2. Formulation of the universal elements (constants) of the international image of Ukraine (for example, Ukraine as an independent European country with a rich and heroic history, Ukraine as an important element of European and global security, Ukraine as not defenseless, Ukrainian can and will defend itself, Ukraine is area of freedom, Ukraine is a space of capabilities and potential, Ukraine is ready to admit the mistakes and go for reconciliation, where applicable).
  3. Denial attempts to position Ukraine as a permanent element of the tripartite design of West - Ukraine - Russia, because they negate the possibility of Ukraine's European integration.
  4. Create a positive image of Ukraine in the world is an element of national goal-setting and consolidation of society in times of crisis.
  5. Proactive movement: not debunking myths and participation in the formulation of the agenda of the future world.

Potential areas of tactical work

In this context, you can define the following areas:

- Work with local media - internship in foreign editions.

Related: Poroshenko supported Ukrainian Unity Train campaign aimed at dispelling myths of Russian propaganda

- Monitoring the perception of Ukraine in different countries - case studies with broadcasting the results in Ukraine.

- Work with foreign media - press tours to Ukraine.

- Work with citizens coming to Ukraine. The main message should be "Peaceful country of great opportunities."

- Initiating broad coverage for people who regularly come abroad. ("My piece of Ukraine" - Ukrainian flag picture of the world's cities with the proliferation of social networks, "Buy Ukrainian" - photos of Ukrainian products that are sold abroad).

Related: Poroshenko: Maidan-3 is propaganda of Kremlin

- Working with diplomats and opinion leaders - lectures on the topics "Cultural Diplomacy," "History of Ukraine," "nation branding."

- Regionally differentiated approach to the formulation of the image of Ukraine taking into account current interest and opportunities for strengthening the position in a particular region of the world.

- Enhancing cooperation with the Foreign Ministry think tanks, public institutions (the Institute of World Politics, Razumkov Centre, Maidan of Foreign Affairs, etc.)

Related: Russia spends $1,4 bln-a-year on propaganda – the US Department of State

- The "grass roots" project - information campaign on prominent figures of the country, who have Ukrainian roots (Israel, Poland, the USA, Canada).

- "From common history (experience) to a common future" for countries such as Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Poland, Hungary, Lithuania, Austria, and others.

Finally, the government should understand that the "act in advance" means not to deny another fake,  but offer the latest news about the country in different languages. And if necessary - to ensure constant updating of information through the interaction of private and public media.

Related: EU and Ukraine agreed on a joint struggle against Russian propaganda

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