Differences in the interpretation of historical events become the basis for Ukraine's more effective public diplomacy
The results of a study about how European media cover key historical events that have an impact on Ukraine's role in global processes
At the request of the Ukrainian Institute and One Philosophy, Corestone Group conducted a content and contextual analysis of the ways European media in 2018-2019 covered key events of the 20th century that have an impact on Ukraine's role in global processes. The team of analysts selected 44 major media outlets in the UK, Germany, France, Poland, Ukraine and Russia and analyzed 7,392 articles related to the Holodomor, World War II, the Chernobyl disaster, democratic processes in the post-Soviet space, the Ukrainian avant-garde and the Executed Renaissance.

"This project has actually become a harbinger of the Ukrainian Institute's research. It has opened the gaps that we plan to fill in meaningfully through our activities starting next year. For example, the findings on the Holodomor and Chernobyl show that media promotion of thematic books and films could help spread knowledge about important historical events," commented the General Director of the Ukrainian Institute Volodymyr Sheiko. "Our task is also to inform the readers of the Western media about the "European" elements of the cultural history of Ukraine and encourage them to learn about the pre-Soviet history. This is a key tool in counteracting any false narratives that unite these countries into one "post-Soviet group" without recognizing their unique cultural heritage. By the way, this complies with the mission of the Ukrainian Institute, namely: to develop the Ukrainian identity."
The research was carried out in order to identify the differences in the interpretation of major historical events of the 20thcentury and to analyze the ways Ukraine was mentioned in this context.

According to Natalia Popovych, the founder of One Philosophy, the author of the idea and co-curator of the research, "Interpretation of the past shapes our political behavior today. This research illustrates that predictably, Russia continues to treat Ukraine as an object of international relations, while other countries only partially perceive Ukraine as an entity with a clearly defined political and cultural identity.The discovery by "Babylon" of historical narratives in the European media and the analysis of failures in the formation of our collective identity at the national level is the first step towards countering Russian optics, which still affects the way foreign countries see us. The next step is to study history textbooks in European countries, because the formation of historical knowledge among young people can have significant consequences for the reconfiguration of the mental map of Europe in the geopolitical and geocultural sense. Besides, there are living witnesses of the tragic pages of Ukrainian history of the 20th century in Ukraine. Their stories told in the language of modern art would undoubtedly help citizens of other countries to better understand Ukraine."

The presentation was held with the participation of Iryna Matviishin, journalist and analyst of the NGO "Internews-Ukraine," coordinator of the project "Stories from Ukraine," who shared the findings of a recent survey of international journalists and experts, and Lyubov Tsybulska, head of the Hybrid Threat Analysis Group at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center, who shared the manipulation of historical narratives as an element of hybrid warfare.

The research is available on the website of the Ukrainian Institute.

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