Crimea River: Directionality in Memes from the Russia-Ukraine Conflict
The Russia–Ukraine conflict of 2014 sparked political upheaval, military action, and the emergence of Internet memes as a forum for discursive critique among netizens of the affected countries. A qualitative content analysis was conducted of Internet memes posted to the RuNet Memes Twitter account in 2014 and revealed a preponderance of memes that fell into one of two categories: directionally Russian or directionally Ukrainian. Directionality as a thematic category is a novel methodological approach in memes research. While the memes reference a given news story or event, they continued to be consumed and reproduced along similar thematic categories. This tendency to follow a narrative is at once endemic to viral media in general and unique to memes given their remix, parody, iteration, and rapid diffusion.