The RuNet Delusion

“If an authoritarian regime can crumble under the pressure of a Facebook group, whether its members are protesting online or in the streets, it’s not much of an authoritarian regime. The real effects of digital activism would thus most likely be felt only in the long term rather than immediately.” This is what Evgeny Morozov, …

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The Nationalists Are Coming

Over the weekend, Bolotnaia Square hosted the latest gathering of ‘Khvatit kormit’ Kavkaz!’ (Enough feeding the Caucasus!), a Russian nationalist movement that first emerged last April. Saturday’s rally was attended by none other than Aleksei Navalny, who also took the stage and delivered a short speech. Navalny was visibly disappointed with the attendance, which was …

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Tactical Democracy

On July 13, 2011, Aleksei Navalny shared a link to an interesting “Instruction Manual” on “Tactical Democracy” by Mikhail Zhivov, a Volgograd IT specialist who recently started a LiveJournal blog. Zhivov has just a handful of LJ ‘friends’ and even fewer followers on Twitter. Even Navalny didn’t bother to follow him. And yet, despite this …

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A House Divided: the Russian Opposition & the 2011 Elections

As chatter among observers of Russian politics reaches a crescendo on the ‘Putin or Medvedev’ presidential question, another tournament quickly approaches. On December 4, 2011, the 450 seats in Russia’s parliament are up for grabs in national elections. Now that the Justice Ministry has rejected the official registration of the liberal party PARNAS, Russia’s democratic …

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“And to What Purpose Could Dead Souls Be Put?” PARNAS vs the Justice Ministry

On June 22, 2011, Russia’s Justice Ministry rejected the opposition’s latest attempt to register an official political party. The People’s Freedom Party “For Russia without Lawlessness and Corruption,” otherwise known as PARNAS, was officially turned away for a small handful of reasons. The most discussed issue has been the presence of “dead souls” on PARNAS’ …

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Aleksei Naval’nyi, Virtual Mayor of Moscow

Earlier this month, Kommersant and Gazeta.ru banded together for an online “virtual election” for the next mayor of Moscow. Of course, that honor has since gone to Sergei Sobianin (who placed 7th in the online competition). There were ten candidates altogether, plus an “against all” option. The clear winner, taking more than 45% of the …

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The Solidarity Decembrists

In December of 1825, a group of roughly 3,000 men assembled in Senate Square in Saint Petersburg to protest the coronation of Nicholas I, who stepped forward to claim Alexander I’s throne when his older brother, Constantine, removed himself from the line of succession. It’s rumored that the demonstrators, who were led by a group …

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