Framing Ideologies in the 2013-2014 Ukrainian Crisis: How Opposing Movements use Culture to Characterize the Issues


TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


In November 2013, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych suddenly reversed an ongoing process toward Ukrainian membership European Union in favor of strengthening economic ties with Russia. His action triggered mass demonstrations in Kiev's Maidan Square and eventually resulted in his removal from office. Yanukovych's opposition in the government solidified the regime change by assuming interim control of the government. Their supporters, composed mostly of ethnic Ukrainians from the Central and Western oblasts, became known as the Maidan movement. In response, separatist movements formed in the Southern and Eastern Ukrainian oblasts of Donetsk, Luhansk, Crimea and Kharkiv. Following Russia's annexation of Crimea, separatist leaders in Donetsk and Luhansk united to form the self-proclaimed Novorossiya (New Russia) Union. This thesis used a grounded-theory approach to identify culturally charged framing devices within Maidan and Novorossiya Union discourse. This paper found that the framing devices of Maidan and Novorossiya invoked Ukrainian and Russian belief systems. Analysis of elite cultural discourse demonstrated that Russian and Ukrainian beliefs and attitudes manifested as thematic concepts, which identified problems, suggest solutions and motivate action. Thus, the frame existed within the culture of Ukrainian and Russian interpretive communities. Framing devices and labels used by Novorossiya and Maidan aligned positions regarding the future of Ukraine with such systems of beliefs.



framing theory, culture, conflict, discourse, Ukraine, Russia