Abstract: Political crises are increasingly frequent and devastating not only for the population of a state, but
also for the international diplomacy. Such an example is the on going Ukrainian crisis. Starting from S. Fink‘s
life cycle of a crisis and T.W. Coombs‘s crisis response strategies, I will analyse the evolution of the
Ukrainian crisis and the crisis response strategies of three major international actors: V ladimir Putin, Barack
Obama and Angela Merkel. The findings of my study will prove that the denial strategy prevails in Putin‘s
statement, whereas Obama uses the diminish strategy and Merkel focuses on the bolstering strategy.
Keywords: crisis stages; crisis response strategies; crisis communication; stakeholder
In early 2014, the crisis that dominated the global public agenda was (and still is), the Russian
intervention in the Ukrainian state space, giving birth to a reaction of protest and international stupor.
The events are still ongoing despite the actions of various policy-makers. The Ukrainian crisis gives us
the opportunity of applying the theoretical framework on crisis communication upon the evolution of
these events and upon the crisis response strategies of three main political actors: Vladimir Putin the
Russian president, Barack Obama U.S. President and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Berlin, Federal
Republic of Germany.
2. Theoretical Framework, Method, Research Questions
In my analysis I will apply two theories used in the crisis communication: (1) Steven Fink‘s stages in
the life cycle of a crisis (1986) and Timothy W. Coombs‘s crisis responses strategies (2007). The
method used in this paper will be a deductive content analysis.
S. Fink (1986) identifies four stages of a crisis: (a) the prodromal stage, when warning signs may
signal the starting point of a crisis; (b) the a cute crisis stage, when the crisis erupts; (c) the chronic
stage, when the organization and the main stakeholders try to manage the crisis by providing crisis
response strategies; (d) the crisis resolution stage, when the organization returns to normal.
1Master Student, Danubius University of Galati, Faculty of Communication Sciences and International Relations, Romania,
Address: 3 Galati Blvd, 800654 Galati, Romania, Tel.: +40372361102, Fax: +40372361290, Corresponding author: