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The growing role of digital media in the Russian political system

Alina V. Vladimirova
National Research University, Higher School of Economics – HSE
Alina V. Vladimirova
National Research University, Higher School of Economics – HSE
Open Panel

Abstract

The study of information technology influence on the human society is one of the most important lines of investigations in political science as the process of fundamental changes in the political structure can lead to the full range of various consequences. Unquestionably, while some trends can be globally observed, the ways in which an adoption of new means for communication strongly depend on the local specifics. For Russia, where the subject type of political culture still dominates over participant one and state control of traditional media is taken as a matter of course, the impact of the Internet is vigorously debated. Despite the fact that Russia is included in the top 10 countries in terms of Internet users and 2010 statistics has shown a burst of the penetration in sparsely populated areas, however every sixth user still lives in so called “the two capitals” and the Runet is considered to be a very special part of the Internet full of warps and examples of cultural shaped trends. This is clearly illustrated by Russian blogosphere, especially by the most popular Russian political blog that Dmitry Medvedev, The President of the Russian Federation, owns since October, 2008. The recent events also confirm that the rise of social network sites gives new opportunities and means to mobilize citizens and to solicit participation in protests, as well as demonstrate its danger in tense inter-ethnic situations. So, there is no doubt that understanding of the power and limits of digital media growing role in society is essential for the maintenance of political system stability in the modern world.