Panel Discussion

Virtual Battlefields of the Russo-Ukrainian War: Digital Media, Disinformation and Visualisation of the Conflict

Panel Discussion

Virtual Battlefields of the Russo-Ukrainian War: Digital Media, Disinformation and Visualisation of the Conflict


Please note that this event consists of two separate panel discussions. 

Digital technologies have significantly impacted all aspects of the contemporary world, changing how people interact, perform, exercise power, influence others, and experience and engage in wars. By significantly increasing the amount of content coming from areas of conflict, new technologies and media not only transform how wars are fought, but also influence the participation in and the representation, communication, and perception of military and political conflicts, constantly recalibrating our perceptions and triggering emotional responses. This overwhelming visibility and performativity also raise concerns about the spread of disinformation and propaganda, particularly in the case of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

What role does the media play in spreading propaganda and  providing a platform for activism and popular mobilization? How does it navigate the delicate balance between giving voice to authentic narratives and potentially distorting reality? How do cultural expressions, including art, music, and literature, influence the collective consciousness during wartime? How does popular culture contribute to shaping public opinion and understanding of conflictual events? Join us for a panel discussion exploring the multifaceted expressions of war.


Part 1: Beyond Words: Examining the Role of Popular Culture in Communicating War

14 March 2024, 11 am  1 pm

The first part will explore expressions of violence and resistance through comics, analyse the Russo-Ukrainian conflict in global cartoons and memes, and finally, delve into the evocative power of Ukrainian popular music in wartime. This discussion will offer a rich exploration of visual and auditory narratives, shedding light on the diverse ways in which artists and creators capture and convey the realities of the Russo-Ukrainian War.

  • Moderator: Alina Mozolevska, associate professor at Petro Mohyla Black Sea National University in Mykolaiv,  ZOiS UNET fellow 2023-2024 
  • Svitlana Pidoprygora is a professor at Petro Mohyla Black Sea National University (Mykolaiv) and a URIS (Ukrainian Research in Switzerland) Fellow at the University of Basel for the 2023-2024 academic year. Her research interests include the theory of experimental literature, the theory of visual arts, comics studies, media studies, mass culture studies, and Ukrainian studies, with a focus on exploring the intersection of visual culture and societal narratives, especially in Ukrainian contexts.
  • Orest Semotiuk, media linguist, political humour researcher, Assistant Professor at the Institute for Slavic Studies in the Polish Academy of Sciences. His research interests include political humour, the mediatisation of armed conflicts, digital visual culture, and hybrid warfare. 
  • Oksana Starshova, associate professor in the Department of English Philology at Petro Mohyla Black Sea National University in Mykolaiv and CARA Fellow at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge, is doing her research on migration narratives of New York (CARA – Council for At-Risk Academics). Her research interests include American literature, postmodernism, geocriticism, urban spaces and literature, and migration literature. 

Part 2: War Discourse and Public Opinion: The Re-actualisation of Performativity in Digital Media during the Russo-Ukrainian War

15 March 2024, 11 am  1 pm

The second part of the panel discussion will focus on the exploration of the evolving information landscape and social media logic in presenting war and life in digital media. The panel will not only discuss technology or strategies, but also performativity as a feature of mediated communication during wartime. It will begin by unravelling the complicity of information threats, progressing from disinformation studies to full-scale propaganda research. It will then delve into the role of Telegram as a powerful tool for war mediatisation, exemplified at the beginning of the full-scale invasion. At the end of  the discussion, we examine the intriguing dynamics of Eurovision in times of war, exploring how this global stage intersects with geopolitics, cultural expression, performance and the dissemination of information.

  • Moderator: Olena Zinenko, ZOiS UNET fellow 2023-2024. She is a journalist and researcher in the field of media studies. Her PhD examined the discourse around public events in the Ukrainian media. She has been a senior lecturer in the Media and Communications department of V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University since 2018. 
  • Artem Zakharchenko, associate professor at Kyiv National University, head of the CAT-UA analytical team.
  • Olena Melnykova-Kurganova, visiting fellow at the University of Passau,  Associate Professor and Chair of Journalism at the National Aviation University (Kyiv, Ukraine),  Research interests: media literacy & fact-checking, public communication, dissident communication, propaganda, destructive narratives, fake news. 
  • Barbara Barreiro Leon, a lecturer in the School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture at the University of Aberdeen, explores how identities are represented through film, music and other contemporary arts.

This event is organised by the Ukraine Research Network@ZOiS.


Anja Krüger
Communications Coordinator