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Under the Influence

Under the Influence

We are living in an online world. Sure, this is nothing new, but lately it has been truer than ever as we all turn to the internet to connect with friends, family, and coworkers during the COVID-19 quarantine.

Besides keeping up with those in our circles, where else are we turning to stay informed and updated?

The International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX), a global development and education organisation, along with social media monitoring service SemanticForce, released a report at the start of May about who influences Ukrainian youth on social media. Specifically, the report includes online influencers who are engaging youth in conversations about national identity, socio-economic opportunities, and youth civic issues.

The analysis looked at Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and VKontakte to determine the most influential social media accounts for Ukrainians between 14 and 35 years old. For consistency, the calculations used only Facebook data (since nearly all the individuals who made the top 20 list were most active on that platform).

The Most Influential People

The report says the top influencers of Ukrainian youth are most often active in politics, journalism, or show business. Let’s take a look at whose reach goes furthest in Ukraine’s online world.

Ulana Suprun, who served as the acting minister of healthcare from 2016 to 2019, is at the top of the list. On her social media accounts as well as her blog (, Suprun debunks health myths and shares health advice — recent blog topics include lice, procrastination, and first aid for mental health.

Next is journalist, TV presenter, and actress Yanina Sokolova. Her go-to network is YouTube, where she hosts Evening with Yanina Sokolova, a show that sets out to fight Russian propaganda. 

TV presenter and actor Serhiy Prytula comes in at number three, with Facebook as his key social network (though YouTube is a close second). Prytula fundraises for various causes: military aid, and most recently, the fight against COVID-19. He raises funds on Patreon and donates some of the proceeds from his shows. 

The Top 20 Most Influential Individuals Among Ukrainian Youth 

  1. Ulana Suprun
  2. Yanina Sokolova
  3. Serhiy Prytula
  4. Boryslav Bereza
  5. Valeriy Ananiev
  6. Oleg Sentsov
  7. Oksana Zabuzhko
  8. Sergii Ivanov
  9. Sviatoslav Vakarchuk
  10. Anatoliy Shariy
  11. Semyon Semenchenko
  12. Larysa Nitsoi
  13. Michael Shchur
  14. Yuri Biryukov
  15. Alina Mykhailova
  16. Andrey Kukhta
  17. Serhiy Zhadan
  18. Vitaliy Shabunin
  19. Vitaliy Portnikov
  20. Denys Bihus

The Most Influential Organisations

IREX’s report shows that overall, individual accounts are more influential online, suggesting that young Ukrainians are usually more inclined to follow people than organisations. 

The top ten organisations are mostly related to education or politics. At the top of the list is Osvita.UA, a website dedicated to education news in Ukraine and abroad, followed by Prometheus, an open online course platform, and Plast, a Ukrainian scout organisation. 

The Top 10 Most Influential Organisations Among Ukrainian Youth

  2. Prometheus
  3. Plast 
  4. Youth Solidarity
  5. Dostupno.UA
  6. Building Ukraine Together
  7. Youth Nationalist Congress
  8. USAID Ukraine
  9. Watch Ukranian
  10. IREX in Ukraine
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