How Ukraine is profitable the meme struggle – EURACTIV.com

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In this week’s version: Ukraine’s Black Sea woes, post-EUCO hangover and Kazakh referendum.

The Saint Javelin meme, which depicts the Virgin Mary holding a Javelin anti-tank missile, has grow to be the image of Ukrainian resistance and an unlikely supply of funding.

EURACTIV spoke to Christian Borys, a Canadian journalist turned entrepreneur who determined to show the meme right into a charity model to assist fundraise for the nation’s reconstruction.

“It may feel strange to have memes during the war, but in 2022, they are the most effective way to communicate and for boosting morale,” Borys mentioned.

“The Russians were unbelievably good at their propaganda in 2014 and 15, and Ukraine couldn’t figure out how to counter it – now it’s completely flipped around,” he added, talking on the sidelines of the GLOBSEC discussion board in Bratislava.

Dozens extra jokes, memes, tweets and YouTube sketches have emerged ridiculing Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, lauding Ukrainian service members and slamming NATO and the EU for not offering sufficient assist.

Images akin to Ukrainian tractors towing away a disabled Russian tank haven’t solely helped struggle Russian disinformation but in addition supported Ukrainian charities and even the navy.

When Russia invaded and annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014, the invasion acquired far much less consideration within the West. Still, the overwhelming public picture of Ukraine, boosted by memes and native manufacturers, has turned the tide of struggle, Borys mentioned.

Immortalised as a large mural of an armed saint painted on a Kyiv constructing, printed on stickers, emblazoned on garments and posted throughout social media networks, Borys by no means thought his revamped ‘Saint Javelin’-meme would grow to be so common. Even Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy sported a T-shirt bearing the picture and talked about it in his 100-day-of-war-video.

The former journalist, who has Ukrainian roots and has spent between 2014 and 2018 overlaying the struggle in japanese Ukraine, initially simply needed to make use of the design to promote some $10 stickers and lift cash for charity.

“The sticker was a fluke. I thought if I got to $500, it would be amazing,” Borys recalled. Raising $1,000 after two days, it has now reached $2 million.

Next to donating the cash to Ukrainian charity organisations akin to Help Us Help, which has branched into varied sorts of help and gives protecting tools for journalists overlaying the struggle, Borys plans to show the undertaking right into a social enterprise.

All manufacturing is deliberate to happen in Ukraine throughout the following months in an effort to contribute to rebuilding the nation.

“My hope, my goal, my dream is that we can take it and turn it into a Patagonia-type company, but Made in Ukraine: Patagonia’s mission statement is ‘We’re in business to save the environment’, our mission statement now is ‘We’re in business to rebuild Ukraine’,” Borys mentioned.

Crowdfunding has grow to be one of many success tales on this struggle.

In the previous days, a whole lot of Lithuanians chipped in to purchase a drone for Ukraine as a present of solidarity in its struggle in opposition to Russia, which additionally as soon as dominated Lithuania. In the tip, a complete of €5.9 million was raised in simply 5 and a half days. But in the long run, the producer determined to give it to Ukraine totally free.

Initially, Borys mentioned he didn’t count on the West to assist Ukraine the way in which it did.

“I was shocked when Western and European countries started sending weapons and shocked when deeply pacifist countries like Germany said that they were going to change their position fundamentally – it was shocking to everybody,” Borys mentioned.

“Realistically, we all expected so little that we were pleasantly surprised by countries doing the bare minimum. There’s still a lot more to do,” he added.

However, regardless of the overwhelming assist globally, Borys mentioned he already sees fatigue setting in with common folks.

“Of course, the governments have to lead the way. Citizens can’t crowdfund the rebuilding of a nation that has been so brutally destroyed,” he mentioned. “But we can do our part.”


  • A 3rd-party safety guarantor may assist unblock Ukraine’s grain exports. Quite a lot of European international locations have stepped up efforts to reopen maritime corridors to move Ukrainian grain, presumably with the assistance of a third-party safety guarantor, however it stays unclear if Russia would comply with any deal.
  • European Liberals backs membership for Zelenskyy’s get together. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has secured one other increase to his EU aspirations after his get together was accepted as a member of the European liberal get together this week.
  • EU steps up efforts to debunk Putin’s meals safety propaganda. The EU is planning an offensive to counter Russian narratives as to which Western sanctions are made accountable for the disruption to the worldwide provide of grains and fertilisers, EURACTIV.com has learnt.
  • Pyrrhic victory for Hungary as EU approves sixth sanctions package deal. After a number of weeks of drawn-out negotiations principally stalled by Hungary, EU leaders struck a political compromise to ban seaborne imports of Russian oil by the tip of the 12 months however fell wanting a full embargo. But it nonetheless wanted wrangling with Budapest over the removing of Russian Orthodox chief Patriarch Kirill from the EU sanctions listing. EU leaders additionally agreed to assist Ukraine financially, however postponed particulars.
  • 500 sufferers from Ukraine transferred to hospitals round Europe. Ukrainian sufferers have been transferred from Ukraine, Moldova, and bordering EU member states to hospitals round Europe, to allow them to obtain continued remedy or pressing medical assist.


EUCO HANGOVER | After their summit and last-ditch squabbles with Hungary, EU leaders up to now days performed down the prospects of getting a ban on Russian gasoline in a subsequent spherical of sanctions, after struggling to safe a watered-down embargo on Moscow’s key oil exports. Whoever already seems in direction of a seventh sanction package deal earlier than summer time, is an optimist, EU diplomats say.

Speaking to EURACTIV after the summit, former Polish overseas minister and at the moment main lawmaker within the European Parliament, Witold Waszczykowski, gave a lower than optimistic account and referred to as out these would hesitate to assist Ukraine.

WAGNER DEFEAT | The European Court of Justice this week slapped down an try by the financier of the Russian mercenary agency, the Wagner group, to be faraway from an EU sanctions listing.

DAM SUPPORT | The Egyptian president has referred to as for EU assist for his nation’s place on the ‘existential’ Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam as the 2 sides look to step up political and financial relations in opposition to the backdrop of Russia’s struggle in Ukraine.


REFERENDUM DAY | A package deal of constitutional amendments is predicted to be accepted by referendum in Kazakhstan this weekend. The proposed constitutional modifications, following 5 months after the best unrest within the nation’s fashionable historical past, may speed up efforts by the nation’s president to push for managed political reforms. Read our Special Report from Nursultan right here.



  • Kazakhstan votes in referendum to change the structure
    | Sunday, 5 June 2022 | Nursultan, Kazakhstan
  • US media in Moscow summoned to MFA assembly
    | Monday, 6 June 2022 | Moscow, Russia
  • European Parliament plenary session
    | Mo-Thu, 6-9 June 2022 | Strasbourg, France
  • UN-Water Process Conference
    | Mo-Thu, 6-9 June | Dushanbe, Tajikistan
  • Summit of the Americas
    | Mo-Fri, 6-10 June 2022 | Los Angeles, United States
  • Chairman of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada addresses European Parliament
    | Wednesday, 8 June 2022 | Strasbourg, France
  • NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg meets Chancellor Scholz
    | Thursday, 9 June 2022 | Berlin, Germany
  • Shangri-La Dialogue safety summit
    | Friday, 10 June 2022 | Singapore
  • Bucharest Nine Summit
    | Friday, 10 June 2022 | Bucharest, Romania
  • Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) overseas ministers meet
    | Friday, 10 June 2022 | Yerevan, Armenia
  • European Court of Justice hears case by Russian state-owned TV channel RT France over broadcasting suspension in Europe
    | Friday, 10 June 2022 | Luxembourg

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[Edited by Alice Taylor]

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