Thanks to the foresight of curatorial staff at the Hoover Institution Library and Archives, a suspicious blog post tying the Donetsk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine to the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash was preserved before it was quickly deleted from the Russian social media website VKontakte. The post, in which rebels boasted of shooting down a Ukrainian army transport plane, was allegedly authored by an activist and spokesman for Igor Girkin (Strelkov), the self-proclaimed minister of war of the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic.
The Washington Post and other media outlets picked up on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine’s archiving of this important piece of evidence before it deleted. The authenticity of the post remains questionable.
Strelkov’s blog and other key websites documenting the Ukrainian crisis were preserved as part of the Internet Archive’s Ukraine Conflict collection. Hoover curatorial staff’s expertise in the subject identified gaps in the existing collection; suggested a number of additions, including the VKontakte Strelkov blog; and designated appropriate capture frequencies, thus enabling their preservation.
In collaboration with Archive-It, Stanford University Libraries, and subject-area specialists at other institutions, the Hoover Archives continues to document the evolving situation in Ukraine, ensuring that ephemeral website content is available for current and future researchers.