The role of humor in war propaganda in not novel, but the Russo-Ukrainian information war stands out by how humor gets employed as a weapon in the virtual battlefield. The paper looks at the pro-Ukrainain North Atlantic Fella Organization (NAFO) as an example of memetic warfare that thrives on social media. It asks the question how the NAFO as participatory and collective project employs humor's inherent ambiguity and social media's inherent uncontrollability to achieve certain war interests. Drawing on the approach of diffractive ethnography, the paper explores NAFO's war narrative includings its self-understanding, how it constructs the enemy and mobilizes supporters. NAFO demonstrates the agency and political effects of social media: It turns out to be a cross-border phenomenon whose funny and captivating virtual appearances interlock with real-world military violence.

Eva Johais

Post Doctoral Researcher

Mareike Meis

Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict (IFHV)