Ecoconflicts in Russia and Digital Networks Participation

Ecoconflicts in Russia and Digital Networks Participation

Golbraich V.B.

Research Fellow, Sociological Institute of FCTAS RAS, Saint Petersburg, Russia

ID of the Article: 7697

Budgetary financing for the planned theme (AAAA-A17-117030110144-3, No. 0169-2015-0005).

Rubric: Ecosociology

For citation:

Golbraich V.B. Ecoconflicts in Russia and Digital Networks Participation. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2019. No 6. P. 74-85


One can observe a growing role of social media, among other things in course of protest actions. That is why researchers begin to speak about emergence of a new type of political participation – that is digital network participation. My study deals with political activists’ employment of VKontakte social network, which is the largest social network in Russia, in the course of environmental conflicts. I have analyzed ‘digital network participation’ (i.e. dissemination of information about a conflict, distribution of information in social networks, and participation in discussions) of these virtual groups members. The analysis showed an active usage of social media in the course of environmental conflicts in contemporary Russia. Activists use virtual groups created during the conflicts for dissemination of information and mobilization of social networks’ users. A utilization of virtual groups by activists for mobilization of social networks’ users both for online participation (signing online petitions and distribution of information) and for traditional participation (meetings and public hearings) is the focus of the study. At the same time the members of virtual groups demonstrate only mild ‘digital network participation’. To a greater extent the group members participate in dissemination of information placed in the group, that is the less costintensive form of digital network participation. Absolute majority of members of the groups created in the course of local environmental conflicts restricted their activities mainly to joining in virtual groups in social media. The analysis also elucidated that the majority of the group members did not intend to participate in the traditional forms of political activity.

environmental conflict; social media; digitally networked participation


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Content No 6, 2019