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Issue № 79. April 2020

Internet Activism as a Form of Political Participation in Modern Russia

Sergey E. Kozlov

Postgraduate student, Faculty of Political Science, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russian Federation.
ORCID ID: 0000-0002-9115-5811

The article discusses the forms of political participation in the digital environment, changing current political practices. The starting point for studying the subject of the article are the functions of the universal communication space — the Internet. It is noted that the symbiosis of e-democracy and civic activism created the prerequisites for emergence of many informal forms of political participation on the Internet. The study uses functional and institutional approaches, as well as structural and functional analysis to identify the attitudes between political Internet activity, the institutional parameters of the political system and democratization of Russian society. The author considers Internet activism as an effective informal political participation in the digital environment, which has genuine information about public opinion and provides great prospects for understanding the mechanisms of public discourse on political issues. The “case of Ivan Golunov” or elections to the Moscow City Duma in 2019 can serve as a vivid proof of such forms of political participation effectiveness. The author identifies genuine Internet activism and slacktivism as alternative forms of political participation in the digital environment. An attempt is made to demarcate them and the problem of modeling new, more accurate methods for estimating the effectiveness of Internet activism is raised. The article also analyzes the main prerequisites for the development of Internet activism in the Russian Federation, considers the current forms of its manifestation. Based on the results of studying modern scientific literature and several empirical studies, the author makes a number of conclusions: social and political videos, posts, reposts can lead to real actions (for example, donating); this kind of Internet activism raises awareness, encourages changes in perception of the world and the emergence of a sense of duty among the people involved in Internet activity. On the example of Russian experience, it is argued that in some cases, Internet activism mobilizes people to participate in economic and socio-political offline events, regardless of their scale.


Internet activism, forms of political participation, e-democracy, online political participation, political activity, slacktivism.

DOI: 10.24411/2070-1381-2020-10053

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