The world frequently associates Ukraine with negative things – war, corruption, Chornobyl, and other matters that form a negative image of the country and undermine trust as well as respect to it. Citizens themselves often perceive their state through a similar negative lens. Nevertheless, Ukraine is also a country of abundant successes and achievements to take pride in and tell about it.
The new project to counter disinformation and negative narratives as its element, “Ukraine Explained/Пояснюємо Україну” is aimed precisely at this. Initiated by 5 NGOs – Ukraine Crisis Media Center (UCMC), Euromaidan Press, StopFake, Internews Ukraine, and Texty.Org.Ua – and supported by National Democratic Institute aspires to remind the world and Ukrainians themselves about the brighter aspects of Ukrainian, historical and modern alike.
Liubov Tsybulska, Head of Hybrid Warfare Analytical Group at UCMC, stated that
“countering disinformation means, among other things, to actively tell the truth. We want to create a new narrative for the country. Because there is more to it than war, Chornobyl and corruption; no, we are a country of art and amazing music; a country of fashion and people who, for their freedom, are able to stand up to the greatest of evils. Ukraine is a phoenix that always rises from the ashes in spite of whatever tragedies it has faced. We want this project to be just a start of a bigger initiative and hope for other organizations to join us in time”.
According to Yevhen Fedchenko, co-founder at StopFake,
“for us it is a great opportunity to cooperate with our colleagues, other Ukrainian organizations that work in this field. I am confident that the unity of our efforts will yield a more visible result for the Ukrainian audience. It will be yet another piece of evidence to highlight how Ukrainian civic society is a leader in countering disinformation and promoting media-literacy”.
Volodymyr Yermolenko, analytics director at Internews Ukraine, has also commented on the initiative, stating that
“the strength of Ukrainian civic society is in its variety and ability to work together. We cooperate and do not compete; we make each other stronger instead of weaker. This project is yet another proof of this”.
Alya Shandra, editor-in-chief at Euromaidan Press, added that
“Often, only negative topics are considered newsworthy by international news organizations, creating a perpetual sense of doom and hopelessness. But beyond these headlines lies a story of revival, struggle, and success. We aim to make this known to the world,”
The project stipulates telling more about Ukraine in a variety of formats – from long reads to videos and podcasts both in Ukrainian and in English. Stories about distinguished Ukrainians that the world has not heard about and the country may have forgotten, intriguing facts about Ukrainian history are merely examples of how the partner organizations plan to implement the initiative.
Therefore, organizations that have been countering Russian disinformation for years, unite their efforts to combat lies in the most effective way – by telling the truth that often remains forgotten about Ukraine. Project participants call onto others to support the initiative in social media by sharing Ukrainian successes and simply using project hashtags #NotOnlyChornobyl #InUkraine #ВУкраїні #VoicesOfUkraine #ГолосиУкраїни.