Economic blockade of the Donbas: the "front" of social networks

Economic blockade of the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions in January-February 2017 was accompanied by a powerful information campaign in media and social networks. Almost all media, including the most popular TV channels and leading online resources published negative news about the blockade. However, it poorly affected the Facebook users. The majority of the opinion leaders was set up to support the blockade.

A significant difference in the positions of official and social media is very rare. Therefore, we decided to investigate the component of the debate that has unfolded in social networks.

For the period 26.01-15.02 in Facebook accounts of the opinion leaders appeared 580 posts in support of the blockade, and 262 against it. In total, we processed 770 posts of top bloggers, politicians, activists, volunteers and military. The active phase of discussion began in February, with the first reports of blackouts.

The main speakers to advocate the blockade were its participants - representatives of the political party "Samopomich" and some independent MPs, mostly those associated with the party "Ukrop" And Ihor Kolomoisky, also joined by radical right-wing politicians and former soldiers of the volunteer battalions. The opposite opinion was spoken out by members of the government, economic experts and scientists, representatives of large business, especially managers of Rinat Akhmetov businesses.

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