MAKARENKO K.M. Online and Offline Protest Discourse in Modern Russia


Kirill M. Makarenko

Senior Lecturer,

Department of Sociology and Political Science, Volgograd State University,

Prosp. Universitetsky, 100, 400062 Volgograd, Russian Federation

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Abstract. Introduction. The article is devoted to the analysis of the formation and spread of protest discourse in new practices of protest behavior. Online rallies, which appeared in 2020 in the public space of Russia, remained an unobtrusive practice, despite their potential applicability within the framework of a single logic of “competitive politics”.

Methods and materials. The research methodology is based on the theory of “relative deprivation” (T. Garr), “competitive politics” (C. Tilly) and the theory of “network society” (M. Castells). As specific research methods, the author used a selective analysis of cases of protests in the period 2018–2021 (42 actions in 26 regions of the Russian Federation), as well as discourse analysis, which made it possible to determine the topic of protest actions.

Analysis. The political discourse of protest is a communicative space for the construction of common symbols and identity of the movement. The formation of discourse takes place in the online space, which is due to the development and simplicity of communication between individuals.

Results. On the basis of the analysis, some conclusions were drawn about the specifics of the formation of protest discourse in the online environment: 1. Discourse is formed in open online platforms, such as groups in VKontakte, Telegram chats or Internet forums; 2. Protest communities are engaged in information and mobilization functions regardless of the number of participants (at the same time, the effectiveness of audience engagement and, as a result, feedback will differ significantly); 3. The main topic of protest actions is represented by opportunistic problems of a civil nature, where there is an immanent opportunity for the transformation of discourse into a political (anti-political) one; 4. The most popular (the number of likes and comments) are posts in groups on social networks containing a direct call to participate in rallies, as well as short emotional slogans and memes.

Key words: virtual protests, online rallies, protest activity, protest discourse, political mobilization, protest moods.

Citation. Makarenko K.M. Online and Offline Protest Discourse in Modern Russia. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2022, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 225-235. (in Russian). DOI:

Лицензия Creative Commons

Online and Offline Protest Discourse in Modern Russia by Makarenko K.M. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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