Marginalization of political leaders in mass communications in modern Ukraine

Shchetinina N.N.


When Ukraine held presidential election in 2019, their characteristic feature re was the candidates' conscious withdrawal from discussing the current socio-political agenda. The communication strategies of the leading Ukrainian politicians were aimed at creating reputational risks for the opponent by using «ungentlemanly» methods of political struggle. These trends were most evident in the confrontation between the two leaders of the election race – Petro Poroshenko and Vladimir Zelensky. Both in content and use of technology, the last presidential elections in Ukraine were unique – as a result, there took shape a special «reduced», marginal political discourse. The main topic of discussions between the candidates for the presidential post were mutual insinuations about the alleged alcohol and drug addiction of both. For the first time in the history of election debates, participants abandoned television in favor of Internet broadcasts and actively used their personal accounts in social networks. This gave them a plenty of freedom in their statements, in choice of vocabulary and provocative topics of publications. This method of political communication had played a role of catalyst for the voters’ interest in the elections and caused an explosive growth of political activity of citizens in social networks, mainly Facebook. The victory of Vladimir Zelensky led to the replication of marginal communication and its active use by other politicians. Rash, unprepared and provocative statements and actions have become a mass phenomenon and have formed a marginal image of modern Ukrainian politics. At that, there emerges an important communication effect: in proportion to the increase in the citation of these politicians in social networks and social media, the negative perception of them by the population increases. Vladimir Zelensky, who came to power in a marginal political context, initially enjoyed the support of citizens, but later significantly lost credibility. For example, in the first six months of his tenure, the number of negative comments on him on Facebook increased by 50%. This gives opposition politicians the opportunity to assert themselves using the same tool – social networks, at the same time placing themselves in opposition to the marginal power both at home and in the international arena.


marginalization; political leader; Ukraine; mass communications; Vladimir Zelensky.

DOI: 10.31249/rsm/2021.01.07

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