Ukraine Crisis Media Center (UCMC) was launched in the spirit of the Revolution
of Dignity in March 2014 as a rapid response to the Russian occupation of Crimea
with an objective to defend Ukraine’s sovereignty and its national interests in the
global information space. Since its inception, UCMC has evolved into an international
strategic communications hub with active outreach to audiences both in Ukraine and
Consolidate the Ukrainian society and the international community while pursuing
Ukraine’s European identity and the creation of a modern competitive state.
UCMC’s mission is to generate and support the demand of Ukrainian society for
substantial changes on the path to establishing a true democracy. Also, to maintain
Ukraine on the global informational map and ensure positive perceptions and tangible
support from other nations.
• Love of Ukraine
OUR TARGET GROUPS
• Media, opinion leaders, government authorities, general public
translated into English
• A free open platform and press office support for civil society activists, state
officials, and experts
• Press-releases, digests, and analytical reports disseminated in seven languages
to over 12,000 contacts including media, experts, MPs, embassies, and
representatives from businesses and NGOs in over 20 countries
• 24/7 media hotline and support
• Monitoring and analyzing media trends, public perceptions and expectations
OUR SIGNATURE PROJECTS IN 2016
• Decentralization Offering Better Results and Efficiency (DOBRE) (USAID)
• Gov.Comms.Ua project by Stratcom group at UCMC (US Embassy, Kyiv)
• UCMC Strategic Communication Project (International Renaissance Foundation)
Canadian Democracy Support Program)
• Museum Open for Renovation (UCBI/USAID)
UCMC is arranged as six interconnected operations, each with a distinct ambition
and objectives. These include International Outreach, National Outreach, Strategic
Communications, Art and Culture, Reforms Communication Taskforce and Digital
UCMC KEY STAFFUCMC BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Arts and Culture
Monitoring and Analytics
The Press Center of Ukraine Crisis Media Center is a platform for constructive
briefings, discussions, and roundtables. Every day we hold discussions between
experts and government representatives, diplomats and international politicians,
activists and journalists. The discussions center on diverse topics about Ukraine and
the wider world. We discuss the budget of Ukraine and taxes, electricity and heating
tariffs, scholarships and urban planning, vaccinations against polio and public health
problems, decentralization and anti-corruption. Every day, UCMC provides a platform
for briefings on the situation in the ATO zone; every week - for reporting briefings of
the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, military intelligence and the Special Monitoring
Mission of the OSCE.
UCMC’s Press Center relies on the professional experience of specialists who provide
every event with full technical and communication support: online broadcasting,
simultaneous interpretation (English-Ukrainian-Russian), light, sound, photo and
video, announcing events, writing press releases, publishing materials (infographics,
photos) on the UCMC website and in social media, sending newsletters to Ukrainian
and international media.
In the past two years, UCMC has held more than 3,600 events engaging over
8,400 speakers. Over 7,600 press releases were written and sent to Ukrainian and
international media. More than 9,300 representatives of Ukrainian and international
media attended events at UCMC over two years, about 11,000 journalists and experts
receive regular press releases and materials from UCMC.
via print media during 10 months of 2016.
about Ukraine and ensures the presence of Ukrainian issues in the Western discourse.
in Europe. The Maidan revolution seemed “old news”, the war in Donbas entered a
period of relative calm after the Minsk agreements were signed and the Ukrainian
government failed to demonstrate fast reforms. The international agenda of the
the International Outreach team had to do everything possible to promote awareness
on the danger of Russian aggression in Ukraine, the potential of Ukraine on the path
of reforms and the transformation of Ukrainian society over the post-Maidan period.
The main tool was systematic work with European media, opinion leaders and
politicians. UCMC provided assistance to foreign journalists covering events in
Ukraine (accreditation, contacts, organizing interviews, and travel support), prepared
and distributed its own analytical materials, and translated key press releases into
English, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. The Department staff
cooperated with Western academic and political circles to create a positive attitude
to Ukraine, organized press tours for foreign journalists, ensured the participation
of Ukraine in international conferences and informed foreign audiences about the
situation in Ukraine by sharing multilingual pages in social media.
From September 2015 to September 2016 International Outreach assisted 195
journalists and published 156 unique materials, in addition to 297 weekly analytical
presented information at six international conferences abroad. UCMC’s multilingual
pages have 26,296 followers in Facebook and 13,199 on Twitter.
National Outreach provides Ukrainian citizens in all regions of the country with access
to objective information to fight anti-state propaganda, support and promote the
development of regional media, and open independent regional press platforms as a
tool to implement a common information policy.
To fulfill this objective UCMC does the following:
• establishes regional media centers – currently set up in Severodonetsk,
Kherson, Mariupol, and Mykolaiv – with a goal to gradually build a national
network of independent media. These platforms establish permanent horizontal
communication between local authorities, media, NGOs and society to discuss
important initiatives, pursue answers to pressing questions and find a common
way for solving problems.
• assists the media in building capacity to prepare and publish printed issues. For
example, in Mykolaiv region over 60 publications appeared in newspapers and
were read by over 180 thousand residents of Mykolaiv region.
As part of press tours, UCMC organizes meetings with representatives of public
authorities, experts, NGOs and politicians. The outcome of these meetings –
access to materials that circulate in the information space of the region.
with the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. 95 Skype conferences on civilian
life amid the war were prepared in 2016.
• Helps prepare and disseminate “Our Life” bulletin (former title “Peace in
Donbas”) for the residents of the frontline areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions,
containing the most up-to-date material and other useful information. The
bulletin has a circulation of more than 600,000 copies.
STATE STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS
Public communications in most state authorities were considered a minor technical
function. Communications were largely reactive and without a focus on the result.
Besides, there was little interagency coordination in communicating issues that fall
within the competence of several public authorities. The situation was particularly
dangerous under conditions of Russian information warfare and with the need to
communicate on the conflict in eastern Ukraine and reforms in the country.
• Introduction of a strategic communications function in pilot authorities;
• Introduction of a pilot system of interagency coordination of communications;
• Improvement of efficiency of current communications and implementation of
PROJECT: REFORM OF GOVERNMENT COMMUNICATIONS:
INTRODUCING STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS, TRAINING AND
DEVELOPMENT TO THE UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
The objective of the project was to improve national communications in the short
term (during the project) through horizontal cooperation, proficiency enhancement,
analytical and resource support of public agencies, implementation of special
projects, etc. Additionally, using the example of some agencies and activities, the
project demonstrated the new standards of public communications, which can be a
foundation for the comprehensive reform of public communications at the central and
• Developed a system of values, competencies and effectiveness assessment of
spokespeople., HR projects to improve efficiency of spokespeople.
• Increased public confidence in many agencies, e.g. in the Armed Forces and
decreased the number of negative coverage about the Armed Forces in mass
media from 61.8% in February 2015 to 4% in June 2015.
PROJECT:GOV.COMMS.UA PROJECT BY STRATCOM GROUP AT UCMC
The project aims to enhance the communications capacity of Ukraine as a state
focusing on the two critical institutions with the high impact and potential – the
Parliament of Ukraine and the EU integration Vice Prime Minister’s (VPM) office.
Setting up efficient communications in these institutions will both yield immediate
results and lay a ground for sustainable strategic communications, contributing to
a democratic, inclusive and efficient dialogue of the state with its stakeholders and
general public both in Ukraine and abroad.
• Introduced a new approach to coordinating Parliament’s communications units
catering for better efficiency and absence of overlaps.
• Motivated Parliament staff.
• First functional and HR-audit of the communications units within the Parliament
with restructuring on track for 2017.
• Instituted an all-new Twitter and Facebook accounts for Parliament that was
noted by the local social media community. Almost 400% more interactions on
Twitter and over 250% more interactions on Facebook.
language newsletter and a contact point for international media.
• Carried out a special project of guided tours - more than 650 people visited the
Parliament in 2 days.
• State program Communicating NATO in Ukraine (2017-2020) developed within
Office of Vice Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of
• Identified and set up key communication mechanism with all key donor funded
projects related to EU integration.
• Preparation of strategic documents on communication regarding EU and
STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS AT THE
PRESIDENTIAL ADMINISTRATION OF UKRAINE
A fundamental change of communication by the Head of State and his Administration
with media and civil society is the main challenge for the Strategic Communications
team at the Presidential Administration. In other words, our task is to ensure the
openness of the President’s Office.
• The Presidential Administration is no longer a secret outpost of a privileged few
but a place where journalists and opinion leaders are always welcome. For their
comfort, the press center has been refurbished with a comfortable media lounge
where people can work quietly even after press events, with fast Internet and a
cup of coffee for inspiration at hand.
• For the first time since independence, art exhibitions open to the public at the
Presidential Administration. These changes help bring the country’s top leaders
closer to those for whom they ultimately work.
• The President of Ukraine and his Administration officials regularly communicate
with the media on topics of highest concern to the society. This helps counteract
the large amount of Russian propaganda targeting Ukraine.
• Creation and implementation of a new systematic approach to celebrating
important anniversaries in Ukraine – www.ukrainianway.org
• Implementation of more than 20 national information campaigns covering more
than 80 million contacts each.
art space “Second Floor ArtCenter” as part of public tours to the Presidential
• Reduction in response time to media inquiries from five down to two days.
• Active communication with international media and doubling of unique
publications about Ukraine and Presidential interviews.
• A major increase in the number of subscribers of APU pages in social media,
increase in user activity.
DECENTRALIZATION OFFERING BETTER RESULTS
AND EFFICIENCY (DOBRE)
Arguably, of all the reforms currently faced by Ukraine, decentralization is the one that
is most dependent on effective communication. Its success will be mainly determined
component of the reform. This shortcoming leads not only to a lack of active support
for the reform, but sometimes – to complete opposition to it.
Ukraine Crisis Media Center is a communication partner of Global Communities in
the implementation of USAID’s five-year, $50 million Decentralization Offering Better
Results and Efficiency (DOBRE) program. DOBRE works in seven target oblasts:
Dnipropetrovsk, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Kherson, Kirovohrad, Mykolayiv, and
Ternopil. The program will select and provide direct assistance to 75 consolidated
communities in these oblasts.
AS A RESULTS OF THE CAMPAIGN IN AUGUST – DECEMBER 2016:
• Started development of communications strategy to extend and strengthen
decentralization in Ukraine. List of stakeholder groups of decentralization have been
defined and analyzed. Guides for focus-groups and in-depth interviews for collection
• In cooperation with the 5th Channel developed and conducted Local Self-governance
TV-marathon “Time of Opportunities” devoted to the day of local self-governance
which hosted heads of amalgamated communities from different regions of Ukraine,
• Two trainings on decentralization in Dnipro and Ternopil and press-tour to
• To amplify the “demonstration effect” of amalgamated communities UCMC started
the project “Communities’ Spokespersons” since the middle of November, 2016 and
already conducted six press-briefings in order to promote the amalgamation of other
• ontinues to track the progress of decentralization reform and attract the media
• Web-sitepageofDOBREProgram(withintheUCMCweb-site)created andFacebook
REFORMS COMMUNICATION TASKFORCE
Since the onset of 2016 UCMC’s communication team faced an unexpected challenge:
state officials and key agency staff began shifting away from open communications
with the public. This situation is dangerous because by avoiding to discuss unpleasant
decisions government jeopardizes credibility of the reforms themselves.
To tackle this challenge UCMC has set up a special communication unit, that is set
to explain to local and national media the real impact of reforms. The unit worked
• organizing and moderating issue-led briefings and discussions;
• using UCMC website and social networks to disseminate easy (but competent)
• aximum synergy and partnerships with the independent NGOs and independent
think-tanks, that were actively involved in planning and implementation of the
• maximum feedback from the media in planning and format implementation
Special attention was paid to the energy reform challenges, given massive resistance
to the highly needed decisions from the monopolies (private and state-owned),
opposition and even some government officials.
UCMC reform communication team also followed new budget preparations, clearly
longreads. This issue is especially important given decentralization challenges.
Feedback from the media in the regions, and synergy of the competence in economical
and decentralization issues allowed the team to step up into anticorruption activities
from the unexpected entry point: local budgets and control of authorities.
Our proactive work with the journalists in the regions demonstrates, that local media
are highly motivated to cover new challenges, but extremely unprepared to tackle the
issue. Thus the UCMC team worked on strengthening local media and creating a long-
term network of the motivated outlets.
This is especially vital given huge demand on the “open data” and “big data”, created
by successful Prozorro case, followed by numerous projects. But these mechanisms
are far from understanding by non-specialized, general media, that rarely work in
economic issues and rely on the public activists in anti-corruption.
ARTS AND CULTURE
The main impetus for bringing Arts & Culture to UCMC in May 2015 was a desire to
shift the focus from covering war in Ukraine to matters of peace and culture. Arts &
west Ukraine. The objective of the initiative is to draw public attention to cultural and
humanitarian issues, to actively involve citizens, and to form an effective long-term
national cultural dialogue.
In 2016, Arts & Culture projects covered such topical cultural and social issues as
decommunization, public spaces, historical reflection, self-definition, contemporary
art, cultural diplomacy, museum reform, revitalization and participatory approaches.
The geography of the activities focused on Donetsk and Luhansk regions, in particular,
the front-line zone and the south of Ukraine.
The main challenges stem out of the stereotype that, at a time of war, art and culture
is not a priority. Moreover, it is widely believed that people on the frontline do not
need any cultural initiatives because they have more important things to think about.
Such prejudices, however, only provided additional motivation for the project team to
implement their projects. Damaged infrastructure of the frontline cities (transport,
hotels, restaurants, etc.) and unfavorable conditions for organizing projects (lack
of proper locations, exhibition halls, facilities, etc.) presented further obstacles to
project activities. However, UCMC not only achieved its project objectives, but also
developed methods of cultural work in the frontline areas and became a medium for
other organizations who increasingly take the initiative to work in eastern Ukraine.
In addition to an impressive list of implemented projects, UCMC also helped improve
communication between local NGOs, activists, cultural workers, public authorities,
Ukrainian experts and artists, international diplomats, and journalists.
Culture and contemporary art are the best tools to find a way out of the crisis, to
rebuild bridges, to overcome negative stereotypes, and are common ground that hold
us together. Without waiting for a ceasefire, UCMC’s Arts and Culture march on.
Since Ukraine Crisis Media Center was established, the digital team’s task has been
to organize an effective process of delivering information via the Internet. Over an
extremely short period of time a number of communication channels were created,
including online broadcast, website, and pages in social networks.
Since the first days of work, UCMC launched YouTube streaming. For nearly three
years every event that takes place at UCMC can be viewed online in two languages -
Ukrainian and English.
The UCMC website was created within three days in several language versions
(currently there are eight of them). The website is constantly changing simultaneously
One of the highlight projects of 2015-2016 was Ukraine Under Attack - a news hub that
brought together all the news on Russian aggression in Ukraine. The website worked
in two language versions - Ukrainian and English, and was aimed primarily at foreign
Since the earliest days of its activity, UCMC is present on Facebook and Twitter. The
English page is one of the best Facebook resources about Ukraine for foreigners.
UCMC’s online resources have been the main source of information for foreign
journalists at times of aggravation of the situation in Ukraine (MH17crash, Russian
invasion of Donbas, Crimea annexation, etc.).
our followers get information interesting and relevant for them.
An important focus of the digital team is media monitoring. We track trends in news
to them quickly.
We work on various forms of presenting information for the best interaction with
the audience. Multimedia production develops visual solutions and videos for social
networks as well as interactive pages for the website. Multimedia presentation of
information helps involve more users and increase UCMC’s Internet audience.
An important part of our work is sharing experience. We provide technical support and
communications expertise to the newly established regional centers of UCMC.
The digital team considers its priorities to be tracking the latest trends, continuous
development and finding the most effective solutions in digital communications.