Amidst Ukrainian conflict, unique perspectives emerge on TikTok

With the Ukraine-Russia Crisis escalating this past month, the world has reacted in solidarity with Ukraine and in support of the many Ukrainian and Russian refugees who are fleeing both countries due to the unrest. As a result, TikTok and other social media platforms have proven their importance in the international community, with Ukrainian TikTokers and social media influencers raising awareness about the truly devastating effects of the crisis.

One photographer from Ukraine @Valerisssh has garnered thousands of followers and millions of views on TikTok by sharing her family’s experiences during the invasion. She has gained just under a million followers on the platform and millions of views per video about the crisis, with one even reaching 43.4 million people about a “day-in-the-life” in a bomb shelter. Making videos showing life in a bomb shelter, her destroyed neighborhood, fleeing Ukraine and more, Valerish has reached millions of people across the world, utilizing her platform to draw attention to the realities of living through such a devastating tragedy.

Many people around the world have gathered together in response to Valerish’s videos, commenting support from countries likem the United States, Brazil, Poland and Latvia. Learning on social media the first-hand accounts and experiences that Ukranians have gone through, these TikTokers are able to gain huge platforms and spread important information, about fundraisers and resource centers.

Another TikToker @Phillipqvu has used his platform as an American international travel influencer to show stories of refugees in Poland, going to the border to assist. He even ended up traveling to Ukraine to deliver medical supplies and food. Showing life working on the border, Vu shared a narrative of the Ukrainian refugees not as hopeless and weak, but tough and resilient. With videos of Ukrainian mothers carrying their children, comments from Polish workers and stories about the people he me at the border, Vu has used his already-existing platform to show a different side of the tragedy — the people — and truly make a difference with his help in Poland and Ukraine.

While Valerish and Vu have been able to use their large platforms to truly make a difference and spread awareness, it is important to recognize that even ordinary social media users without a huge following can share their individual experiences through just one viral video.

@Whereislizzyy on Tiktok has garnered millions of views on her most recent videos, with 16.3 million views on a clip where she stated, “… [Russia] attacked us so we [are] leaving at 8 am.”

Lizzie also linked a fundraiser tied to her Instagram account in her Tiktok bio to help UNICEF protect Ukraine’s children.

Another user @Ukrdefensefund shows the daily accounts of a Ukrainian man who emphasized how drastic life has changed through small tasks, like going to the empty grocery store, hearing announcements at a hotel about a coming air-raid and abandoned schools. Aiming to create videos showcasing Ukrainian life, with the ultimate purpose of increasing awareness towards his attempts to gain supplies for soldiers through collecting materials and fundraisers, @Ukrdefensefund is another example of how a few videos with 100-200 thousand views can educate and inform people around the world.

A few people can make a huge difference in setting a realistic, true narrative about life during a terrible war through the use of TikTok and other social media platforms. Educating people from hundreds of countries about the Ukrainian situation through firsthand perspectives of those who are truly affected by the war show how one story can make a huge impact when shared online.

Accounts to follow: 
















What is Ukraine?

Olga Reznikova

Johnny FD