Aid to the

How pro-russian propaganda creates stereotypes of Ukrainian refugee women who allegedly “destroy families in Europe”

“Ukrainian women refugees snatch up Romanian men,” “Ukrainian women destroy Polish families and pose a threat to Polish feminism,” and the most widespread comment among Ukrainian readers: “Ukrainian woman wrests husband from a family that sheltered her for 10 days.” Such headlines are frequently disseminated on social media by pro-russian media and the supporters of the “russian world”. Characteristically, Ukrainian social media resources also spread the idea that “Ukrainian women refugees fled abroad to look for husbands.”

“Romanian women rebel” 

“Local women revolted against the presence of Ukrainian women refugees, because more and more husbands were cheating on them.” This statement is followed by several disgusting sentences that we won’t bother quoting. 

It should be noted that the photo and the “appeal to Ukrainian women” appeared on the pro-russian DonbassToday, and then both were copied by several other russian trash tabloids. From there, all this crap found its way to social media. For example, there are several posts on Facebook. However, there’s no indication of where it happened. In the end, it’s not at all clear why Ukrainian women refugees, who probably hardly know Romanian, would write a text in Romanian.

We don’t know whether we should remind everyone that men also play a role in a relationship. However, the common stereotype says that it’s women who steal or drive men from their families, and for some reason or other, this formula is still very much alive.

“A threat to Polish feminism” 

One russian media published a translation of an article by Poland’s Sylwia Gorlicka (Google search reveals her as a political scientist), where she analyzes the situation with Ukrainian women refugees. However, the russian news outlets wrote their own headline, underlining that “Ukrainian women have begun taking men away from Polish women.” 

In the article, the author states that the large number of Ukrainian women fleeing the war is changing the man-to-woman ratio in Poland. She suggests that Polish men will choose Ukrainian women because, regardless of reality, they are perceived to “have more ‘traditional’ and conservative views on relationships and gender roles.”

Sylwia Gorlicka also cites her own observations, although she clarifies that they are subjective: allegedly, after Euromaidan, when more and more Ukrainian women began immigrating to Poland, “divorces became more frequent among Poles, so that the men were free to enter into relationships with Ukrainian women. The consequences of these decisions are indeed subjective, sometimes good and sometimes bad, but then we pose a natural question to Polish women who participate in movements that openly discriminate against men in our country: aren’t they afraid that they will be alone forever?” 

At this point, it’s not clear why Gorlicka believes that feminist movements discriminate against men, and she doesn’t explain this thesis. So, is she really talking about feminism? And is it really about women’s issues, if the following is what she means? 

“From the point of view of Polish men, who are tired of never-ending compromises, and find themselves “walking on thin ice”, it will be much more tempting to leave a demanding Polish woman for a Ukrainian woman who cares about the hearth and home and creates a pleasant atmosphere in their relationship. We can even put forward the following hypothesis - the arrival and sojourn of Ukrainian women migrants in Poland may suspend or even reverse ‘neo-modern’ processes in our country. In short: Ukrainian women will bury feminism in Poland,” writes Gorlicka. 

Well, we have to admit that women are all different. Ukrainian women are too. Some really prefer “traditional” social roles, while others don’t. Therefore, in contrast to generalizations about how compliant Ukrainian women are, we can say that these same women are engaged as volunteers in their native country, serve on the front lines, continue to work despite shelling and air raids, and, when forced to flee abroad, they organize daily life and become mothers and fathers for their children, learn languages, and find jobs. So, it’s strange to read such conclusions about our women. But, it’s not surprising that these ideas are picked up by russian propaganda and used against Ukrainian women refugees.

“She destroyed the family that sheltered her”

This must be the all-time favourite. And, there’s no need to look for which russian media mentioned this issue. Most have written about this story. However, it’s most annoying that the Ukrainian media also picked it up and wrote about it in May. In fact, they gave a concrete example, thus highlighting and confirming the stereotype of a Ukrainian woman who’s “just looking for a husband”.  

This story was mentioned for the second time last week, when a PARTICULAR Ukrainian woman and a British man ended their relationship. This was an isolated case, but gave everyone, who so desired, a chance to create a new stereotype for Ukrainian women “who are leaving their country in order to destroy other people’s families”. It’s namely this narrative that we see and hear in the headlines and in Ukrainian social media comments, namely that “she’s spoiling the good name of all Ukrainian women”. In fact, she isn’t, because each person is responsible for their own actions small logo

Ірина Небесна
Ірина Небесна
фактчекерка По той бік гендеру
Halyna Dolynna
Halyna Dolynna
editor of the English texts
01 / 01