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Digital Activism in Russia: The Communication Tactics of Political Outsiders | Sofya Glazunova | Griffith Asia Institute

Wednesday, 24 August 2022

12:00

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13:30

N72_-1.18 Nathan Campus and G23_3.01 Gold Coast Campus (upon request)

The recent Russo-Ukrainian warfare has majorly expedited the transformation of the Russian political regime towards dictatorial rule including among other things hard censorship and the elimination of dissident thought. These regime's changes were not sudden, rather they can be explored within the continuum since the protests “For Fair Elections” in 2011-2012. In the last decade, a series of new restrictions, including limitations on political freedoms, and censorship of the media and the Internet hampered the spread of dissident communication about politics in the country. Those opposition forces and activists who actively promoted anti-establishment agenda in the country were forced to operate and communicate from “digital ghettos” while many of them failed to run for public office due to regime obstacles. However, some of the prominent dissidents did impact the Russian public sphere and peripheral electorates using the advanced communication apparatus. One of them was Alexey Navalny, who, together with his associates, released a series of investigative documentaries on officials’ corruption, and organised anti-establishment mass protests in the late 2010s via social media, something not easily achievable in modern Russia.

Resisting authoritarian rule and limited press freedom in the country require innovative and hybrid communication decisions from outsiders of Russian politics which reflect the zeitgeist. Drawing from her recent book Digital Activism in Russia, Sofya reflects on the communication tactics of Russian political outsiders that contributed to their political survival in the late 2010s, the future of such digital resistances in Russia, and its relevance for political minorities struggling with authoritarianism around the world.

Dr Sofya Glazunova is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Digital Media Research Centre, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia. She holds her PhD in Media and Communications from QUT, Australia (2020). In her PhD thesis, she looked at how Russian non-systemic opposition uses digital media as a tool to interact with citizens in a complex and monopolised digital public sphere, which forms the basis for her recent book Digital Activism in Russia (2022). Dr Glazunova specialises in political communication, digital resistance, authoritarianism, Russian media, “fake news”, propaganda, and other types of disinformation. Her postdoctoral research uses innovative mixed-methods approaches to assess patterns of audience engagement with “fake news”, propaganda, and other problematic content across a diverse range of social media platforms.