The Fight of Ideologies in the Ukraine-Crimea-Russia Crisis within YouTube Global Dimension uk
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In the contemporary world, YouTube has become the leading media incorporating the main demands and desires of the today’s consumers of media production and ruling the minds of billions of people worldwide. On the one hand, modern individuals prefer to watch information in the video format rather than either read or listen to it (Rosensteel, 2013). In this regard, this video database is the second global search engine after Google (Just how Popular Is YouTube, 2013). Moreover, the above statement can be proved by its connectivity with most international and country-specific social networks and a huge array of topics available for watching on YouTube, ranging from fitness instructions to global threats of military aggression. The latter has been especially acute with respect to the current political crisis in Ukraine that is sharpened and multiplied by the invasion of the Russian troops in Crimea and its annexation. Instead of objective representation of the facts, as all media should do in ideal, this fascinating internet resource has become a field of battle between opposing ideologies of the US and the Euro Union on the one side and Russia on the other one, as well as Ukraine in-between the two. Only search results for such a phrase as “Ukraine/ Crimea/ Russia crisis” provided approximately 305,000 videos on this topic. Their watching rates range from at least 20 to about 337,000 times. It should be noted that there is a variety of comments from users who were sharing, linking and shaping the all-embracing worldwide connectivity.
Therefore, this paper considers that YouTube as global media influences the public opinion within the ideological sense with regard to the representation of the Ukraine-to-Russia crisis as a case study.
First and foremost, the content presented in this database can be conditionally divided in accordance with the long-time opposing worldviews – those showing Russia as an aggressor and the ones seemingly refuting this claim. To illustrate, a video Former US Ambassador (2014) acutely criticizes the United States government de to its having treated Russia as a loser since the after-Soviet times. It follows that this 19-minute news report informs the public that supposedly the US hostile policies towards Russia and its contradiction to the former within the international relations has led to Ukraine/Crimea situation. The initial message of this video aimed at debunking the myth of US imperialism has achieved its goal. It is evident from a number of comments from the viewers, asserting that “America has lost its credibility” (Former US Ambassador, 2014). Thus, although the video is supposed to convey the aggressiveness of Russia concerning Ukraine and Crimea, it has become solely anti-US-directed. This factor shows exactly how the media can manipulate the public opinion, prevailing the ideological prejudices and stereotypes over critical mind. The opposing ideological pillars of the West superpower and the former USSR central state are considered as primary resources of the news plots. On the contrary, the interests of the country whose people rebelled for better life aspirations are omitted in this regard. It is not even clear what nation is the bigger aggressor – Russia that has invaded Ukraine or the USA that is presented as an evil facilitator of this process.
Regardless of that Russia annexed Crimea and seemingly should be perceived as an invader, the aftermath of the video watching demonstrates disappointment at the American liberty and democracy ideologies. For example, one of the most frequently viewed videos on the chosen topic is related to the discussion about Ukraine Crisis: Russian Gunships over Crimea (AKA McGlasgow Truther, 2014).Hence, the public is provided with what is consumed most – the hottest news with some implications of aggression and force. Even though the central idea to be conceptualized should involve the fact of invasion, media invisibly shapes the USA-to-Russia eternal ideological contradictions again. Apart from that, the major part out of 837 comments blames the USA for the fail of the political and ideological position. Consequently, media makes all notable events fit the general and long--lasting opposition between the ex-Communist and capitalist ideologies. Furthermore, it can be even stated that the Cold War still lasts, notwithstanding in a rather different – informational, but not actual weapon – level.
In this way, YouTube as a media means does not only represent the material on a given topic in the visual, verbal and audio dimensions simultaneously, but also ensures connectivity between the users. This makes the formulation of the public opinion a complete ideological cycle. The video files are preferred by information consumers owing to their ability to incorporate focusing on human faces, “voice conveying information,” emotions revealed in the process, as well as movements that “grab attention” (Rosensteel, 2013). The above-listed characteristics are applied altogether to show some vital elements of the ideologies involved in contradiction within the case study framework. Namely, here exemplification of the Russian and American activities can be referred to. In particular, the Americans attempt to fight “the ghost of Communism” like in the Soviet times, whereas the Russians try to show their “Kuz’kina mat” despite that the former warns them with harsh economic sanctions to prevent the invasion. Additionally, in this procedure of ideologization by means of the video-centered media, “sharing,” “friending” and “liking” are crucial ways of thorough social connectivity (Dijck, 2013, p. 46). Thus, the authors of provocative and dubious news reports organize their content in such a manner that the aforementioned options would be as widely used as possible, ensuring the high ratings for the owners. If the entire mechanism of the process is well shaped, established and perceived comprehensively, it can be embedded in a system capable of leading the public in a direction determined by the content of the video. These key elements of media sharpening the ideological filling of the videos and, as a result, human minds carry out their mission, “beating the pros at their own game” (Jenkins, 2007, p. 9).