Pro-Ukrainian Memes Against 2022 Russian Invasion A Cognitive Linguistics Perspective

Aleksandra Majdzińska-Koczorowicz, Julia Ostanina-Olszewska


In relation to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, memes and Internet jokes have
aspecial status. They work as stress-relievers, information vessels, or Russian propa-
ganda resistance. The effectiveness of ameme relies on mingling verbal and visual
elements in such away that seemingly unrelated scenarios become relatable and can
be interpreted in agiven context. The text aims at discussing the cognitive mechanisms
employed in chosen pro-Ukrainian memes against the 2022 Russian invasion in terms
of their bimodal construal. An analysis of agroup of memes was conducted within the
cognitive linguistics framework, with reference to the Conceptual Metaphor Theory,
conceptual integration theory (Fauconnier & Turner, 2002), and construal (Langacker,
2008, 2019). The creation of memes triggers frameshifting and convergence of dif-
ferent mental spaces, which results in online meaning construction, where humorous
incongruity derives directly from blending and shows how jokes (about tragedies) may
become humorous, due to frame substitution.


Internet meme; metaphor; metonymy; conceptual blending; Ukraine

Full Text:



Coulson, S. (2022). Conceptual blending and memes. In H. L. Colston, T. Matlock, & G. J. Steen (Eds.), Dynamism in Metaphor and Beyond, (pp. 265–292). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Dynel, M. (2011). Blending the incongruity-resolution model and the conceptual integration theory: the case of blends in pictorial advertising. International Review of Pragmatics, 3(1), 59–83.

Fauconnier, G., & Turner, M. (2002). The Way We Think: Conceptual Blending and The Mind’s Hid-den Complexities. New York: Basic Books.

Forceville, Ch. (1996). Pictorial metaphor in advertising. London, New York: Routledge.

Forceville, Ch. (2002). The identification of target and source in pictorial metaphors. Journal of Pragmatics, 34(1), 1–14.

Forceville, Ch. (2008). Metaphor in pictures and multimodal representations. In R. W. Gibbs Jr., (Ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of Metaphor and Thought (462–482). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hamill-Steward, Ch. (2022). The Memes Fighting Russian Propaganda, Byline Times. Retrieved January 15, 2023, from

Kirby, P. (2022). Why did Russia invade Ukraine and has Putin’s war failed? BBC News. Retrieved January 15, 2023, from

Kövecses, Z. (2002). Metaphor: A Practical Introduction. Oxford, New York: Oxford.

Kuiper, N. A., Martin, R. A., & Olinger, L. J. (1993). Coping humour, stress, and cognitive appraisals. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 25(1), 81–96.

Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (1980). Metaphors we live by. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Langacker, R. (2008). Cognitive Grammar: A Basic Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Langacker, R. (2019). Cognitive linguistics – Foundations of language. Berlin: De Gruyter.

Majdzińska-Koczorowicz, A., & Ostanina-Olszewska, J. (2021). Reframing the reality of online learning on the basis of internet memes. Studia Linguistica, 16,140–155.

Mansoor, S. (2023, January 4). Why U.S. HIMARS Rockets Are Becoming Increasingly Decisive for Ukraine, TIME. Retrieved January 15, 2023, from

Marín-Arrese, J. (2008). Cognition and culture in political cartoons. Intercultural Pragmatics, 5(1),1–18.

Martin, R. (2007). The Psychology of Humour: An Integrative Approach. London: Elsevier Academic Press.

Michel, A. (2017). The science of humour is no laughing matter. APS Observer, 30(4), 22–25.

Schilperoord, J., & Maes, A. (2009). Visual Metaphoric Conceptualization in Editorial Cartoons. In Ch. Forceville, & E. Urios-Aparisi (Eds.), Multimodal Metaphor (pp. 213–240). New York: DeGruyter.

Suciu, P. (2022). Real Or Fake: Video Of Farmer Stealing Russian Tank, Landmine Removed With Bare Hands, And Comparisons Of Putin To Hitler Trending, Forbes. Retrieved March 2, 2022, from

Talmy, L. (1988). Force Dynamics in Language and Cognition. Cognitive Science, 12, 49–100.

US Capitol riot (2022). US Capitol riot ‘podium guy’Adam Johnson gets 75 days in prison, BBC News. Retrieved from February 25, 2022,

Willinger, U., A. Hergovich, M. Schmoeger, Deckert, M., Stoettner, S., Bunda, I., Auff, E. (2017).Cognitive and emotional demands of black humour processing: the role of intelligence, aggressiveness and mood. Cognitive Processing, 18, 159–167.

Zinets, N. (2022). Ukraine says it has destroyed 50 Russian ammunition depots using HIMARS, REUTERS. Retrieved January 15, 2023, from

Data publikacji: 2023-03-17 10:37:17
Data złożenia artykułu: 2023-01-14 19:55:28


Total abstract view - 382
Downloads (from 2020-06-17) - PDF - 426



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2023 Aleksandra Majdzińska-Koczorowicz, Julia Ostanina-Olszewska

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.