A Comparative Cyberconflict Analysis of Digital Activism Across Post-Soviet Countries

Karatzogianni, A., Miazhevich, G. and Denisova, A. 2017. A Comparative Cyberconflict Analysis of Digital Activism Across Post-Soviet Countries. Comparative Sociology. 16 (1), pp. 102-126. doi:10.1163/15691330-12341415

TitleA Comparative Cyberconflict Analysis of Digital Activism Across Post-Soviet Countries
AuthorsKaratzogianni, A., Miazhevich, G. and Denisova, A.
Abstract

This article analyses digital activism comparatively in relation to three Post-Soviet regions: Russian/anti-Russian in Crimea and online political deliberation in Belarus, in juxtaposition to Estonia’s digital governance approach. The authors show that in civil societies in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, cultural forms of digital activism, such as internet memes, thrive and produce and reproduce effective forms of political deliberation. In contrast to Estonia, in authoritarian regimes actual massive mobilization and protest is forbidden, or is severely punished with activists imprisoned, persecuted or murdered by the state. This is consistent with use of cultural forms of digital activism in countries where protest is illegal and political deliberation is restricted in government-controlled or oligarchic media. Humorous political commentary might be tolerated online to avoid mobilization and decompress dissent and resistance, yet remaining strictly within censorship and surveillance apparatuses. The authors’ research affirms the potential of internet memes in addressing apolitical crowds, infiltrating casual conversations and providing symbolic manifestation to resistant debates. Yet, the virtuality of the protest undermines its consistency and impact on offline political deliberation. Without knowing each other beyond social media, the participants are unlikely to form robust organisational structures and mobilise for activism offline.

JournalComparative Sociology
Journal citation16 (1), pp. 102-126
ISSN1569-1322
Year2017
PublisherBrill
Accepted author manuscriptKaratzogianni et al 111216B.pdf
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1163/15691330-12341415
Publication dates
Published13 Feb 2017

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