Ukraine’s Image in Media Discourse: Cultural Icons and the Impact of the Russia-Ukraine War


Summer Institute for the Study of East Central and Southeastern Europe


Educational and Scientific Institute of Journalism


This project explores cultural icons that shaped the image of Ukraine in media discourse during the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. Such icons include notable personalities, places, events, or physical objects representing heroic, tragic, and sometimes even comic moments of the war. Serving as symbols of Ukraine’s resistance, these icons highlight Ukrainians’ solidarity, boost their morale, and allow the people to vent their emotions. Acting as a unifying force, these icons also strengthen Ukrainian’s national identity and sense of purpose, as well as shape the country’s image both domestically and internationally. This study specifically focuses on cultural icons that have achieved global recognition through international media exposure, with some of them turning into successful commercial brands. The results of this study provide new insights into the role of symbolic cultural elements in the discursive construction of national identity in the media and in shaping a country’s image during conflicts and crises.