Selling Insecurity via Twitter: Ukrainian President's Posts and Modern Political Discourse

Nataliia Steblyna
2020 Przegląd Strategiczny  
In modern political discourse, the topics of foreign aggression and insecurity are strongly influencing voter perceptions. In the unpredictable and polarizing environment of Twitter, references to crisis events may be used without justification. The character of tweeting during the peak phase of a crisis may differ, and it is possible to identify such differences analyzingthe tweets. To compare the pre-election period with the period of foreign aggression, and to study the manner of tweeting of
more » ... nner of tweeting of a political leader, the Twitter account of the fifth Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko was observed between November 2018 (Azov crisis) and July 2019 (early presidential election). A total of 2,519 tweets were content-analyzed (the character of references to Russian aggression, newsbreaks, intensity, language justification were studied). Tweeting during the Azov crisis was an everyday activity with a large number of tweets over a long period. Pre-election tweeting included commenting on specially created events (commemorations, celebrations) with a large number of mentions for short periods of time and constant online presence with a small number of tweets posted even without a special occasion. Approximately one out of three tweets was written without reference to any newsbreak. Among the most popular newsbreaks, traditional subjects dominated (meetings, signings of laws etc.). Thus, the term "aggression" was mainly exploited during specially created events after the crisis. Additionally, the stylistic features (authentic language, amateurism, unpredictability, breaking rules, incivility and impoliteness) that are widespread across social networks arenot typical of Poroshenko. A "polarization" of the political discourse, however, emerges. It is possible to observe it especially before the second round of elections, when the polls were predicting victory to Poroshenko's opponent.
doi:10.14746/ps.2020.1.19 fatcat:ndwrtheu6vadla6hr4gmcwe5xu