How Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wages a war with Russia on social media

The President of Ukraine has implemented a communication strategy that mobilizes major Western platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Challenge Vladimir Putin alone or almost in the city of Kiev. This is a desire to hire Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky, who has significantly increased the use of Western social platforms since Russia invaded his country last Thursday.

To deal with not only his people, but also international public opinion, including Russia, he was able to trust the sequence using the code on these platforms. According to statistics compiled by BFMTV using the CrowdTangle and Social Blade tools, this strategy is paying off.

1.5 million subscribers a day

To accommodate not only foreign leaders but also the press, Volodymyr Zelensky can count on Twitter accounts, which have skyrocketed in hours. Last Monday, his official account was followed by about 450,000 people. This Sunday morning, it exceeded 3 million subscribers. Acquired more than 1 million new subscribers on February 25th.

Like other platforms, Volodymyr Zelensky, who is currently among the 3,000 most followed on Twitter, could rely on video broadcasts. A sequence of “selfie styles” posted online on Saturday morning, the third day of the war, shows him alone in the city of Kiev, the capital of Ukraine.

This video has been watched about 18 million times on Twitter. It has been retweeted more than 12,000 times and has been liked by more than 400,000 people.

At the same time, the President of Ukraine relies on his Facebook profile (1.8 million subscribers) to bring other content online. Again, this is a video taken on the night of February 25th, already in the city of Kiev, with a simple smartphone of him and a few relatives. This video has been watched 800,000 times and shared over 50,000 times.

Since the beginning of the month, the number of leader interactions has skyrocketed. On Facebook, these interactions are a combination of reactions (including likes), comments, and sharing. They went from 110,000 on February 22nd to over 800,000 on February 26th.

Most watched videos on Instagram

But even more surprising, the content posted by Volodymyr Zelensky was the most successful on Instagram. A former comedian, he already had 9 million subscribers on the platform at the end of 2021 and this week has another 2 million subscribers.

If two videos recorded in the city of Kiev were seen by 8 million and 12 million Internet users, it’s another outstanding sequence. It began on February 24, hours before the Russian invasion, and features a call for peace by Wolodimil Zelensky in Ukrainian and Russian.

With over 32 million views, this video is the world’s most popular video on American platforms since the beginning of the war in Ukraine. This Monday, the Ukrainian leader’s Instagram account had more than 13 million transactions on Saturday, February 25, compared to 200,000 transactions per day.

Vladimir Putin criticizes on Russian Facebook

At the same time, Western social networks portray a much more negative image of Vladimir Putin. In Russia, the most popular Facebook publications are from Russian media broadcasts, but they are established in the West and their editing lines are not under the control of power. From a sometimes divided perspective.

In the week of February 21, Russia’s third most engaged post was uploaded by Kremlin’s opponent Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Seen nearly 6 million times and shared more than 170,000 times, this sequence has blamed Vladimir Putin’s policy and has become the leader of Adolf Hitler.

February 27, 2022 screenshot of Russian opponent Mikhail Khodorkovsky's Facebook account
Screenshot of Russian opponent Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s Facebook account, February 27, 2022 © BFMTV

The success of pro-Ukrainian content on Western platforms can have a significant impact on Russian public opinion if Russia continues to manage information as it traverses local media and social networks.

However, over the last few hours, authorities have taken steps to limit access to domestic Internet users, significantly limiting the possibility of connecting to Facebook and Twitter.