EUME Berliner Seminar
Mi 17 Jan 2024 | 17:00–18:30

Russian social media at war: the battle of Aleppo according to Russian military correspondents, 2015-2017

Elise Daniaud Oudeh (LUISS University / EUME Fellow 2023/24), Chair: Eylaf Bader Eddin (Postdoctoral Researcher ERC SYRASP)

Forum Transregionale Studien, Wallotstr. 14, 14193 Berlin

This presentation is an exploration of the social media coverage of the reconquest of the Syrian city of Aleppo by the Syrian Arab Army and its Russian ally from 2015 to 2017, as described by Russian war reporters roaming across the country. It provides the reader with a gateway on the world of Russian social media and their role in the representations of the conflict to Russian audiences, but also to the broader universe of Pro-Kremlin narratives related to international relations.
As the Russian army invaded Syria in autumn 2015 at the request of Bashar al-Assad, the communication strategy of the Russian State increased, investing all sort of mediatic tools in the framework of the “information warfare” aiming to promote the “Russian side of the story”. Social media platforms such as Youtube, Telegram, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, but mostly Russian platform Vkontakte, which remains vastly unexplored, became the “personal diaries” of embedded journalists, blurring the lines between professional coverage and personal experiences. With the help of TXM textometry software, 5448 posts were submitted to quantitative linguistic analysis, identifying major tendencies by concentrating on frequencies, co-frequencies and word progression visualised with Gephi software for networks. This first step allowed to discover recurrent themes incarnated by the Aleppo campaign, including terrorism, vertical representations of power and aesthetisation of military campaigns, as well as secondary themes such as archaeology, religion and ‘tourism’ as soft power tools.

Elise Daniaud Oudeh is an associate researcher and PhD candidate in Politics at LUISS University, Italy. She holds a MA in Slavic studies from Bordeaux University, a MA in heritage preservation from Sorbonne University, and a MS in Political science from Saint Joseph Universityof Beirut. She specialises her work on the impact of political discourse as a soft power strategy Her PhD is focused on Syria and the 2015 Russian intervention. Through her professional experience, she worked closely with Russian and Syrian civil societies. She is fluent in English, French, Spanish, Russian, and Arabic. In the academic year 2023/24, Elise is an affiliated EUME Fellow.

Eylaf Bader Eddin studied English, Arabic and Comparative Literature in Damascus, Paris, Aix-en-Provence, and Marburg. From 2004 to 2009, he studied English language and literature at the University of Damascus. He received his MA in 2014 from the University of Vincennes in Saint-Denis (Paris 8) for his thesis entitled “(Un)-Translating Slogans of the Syrian Revolution.” From 2015 to 2020, he studied in the Cotutelle doctoral program of the University of Aix-Marseille and Philipps-Universität Marburg. His doctoral dissertation is entitled “Translating the Language of the Syrian Revolution 2011-2012.” In 2021, he is a post-doctoral researcher in the DFG-funded research group “Figures of Thought | Turning Points” at Philipps-Universität Marburg. Currently, he is a research associate of the research project SYRASP and a EUME Fellow at the Forum Transregionale Studien. He is the author of the recently released open access book by De Gruyter "Translating the Language of the Syrian Revolution (2011\12).

Please note that the Berliner Seminar will take place on-site at the Forum Transregionale Studien. We kindly ask for prior registration via eume(at) Depending on approval by the speaker(s), the Berliner Seminar will be recorded. All audio recordings of the Berliner Seminar are available on SoundCloud.



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