Political Effects of Social Networks in Russia

Political Effects of Social Networks in Russia

Mikhaylenok O.M.

Dr. Sci. (Pol.), Prof., Chief Researcher; Head of the Department for Research of Social and Political Relation, Center of political science and political sociology, Institute of Sociology FCTAS RAS, Moscow, Russia (m-oleg-m@yandex.ru); Galina A. MALYSHEVA, . Both – m-oleg-m@yandex.ru

Malysheva G.A.

Junior Researcher of the Department for Research of Social and Political Relations, Center of political science and political sociology, Institute of Sociology FCTAS RAS, Moscow, Russia (lamaga2007@yandex.ru) lamaga2007@yandex.ru

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Mikhaylenok O.M., Malysheva G.A. Political Effects of Social Networks in Russia. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2019. No 2. P. 78-87


Analysis of the political aspects of the development of Internet social networks is a promising field in political sociology. The cyberspace of the network performs not only a social and communicative function, but also possesses significant political potential. Online social networks have become a phenomenon of social and political life in modern Russia and influence its dynamics and character, acting as a legitimising power mechanism. Integration of public policy into virtual social space causes formation of network forms of political participation for citizens and their new online identities. At the same time, the specifics of online political interactions limit the opportunities for social dialogue, which is already difficult in Russia due to the existence of clearly expressed ideological and value differences in society. The social Internet space serves as a virtual projection of social contradictions and acts as an arena for the clash of political interests. Social networks, although declaring the principles of solidarity, self-organization and collective identity, are in fact stratified, do not imply equality of users, nor do they provide a balance of their interests. Networks provide a wide range of opportunities for political manipulation and influence curation of public consciousness. In Russia, political power uses a number of tools to implement administrative control over the digital social space, which makes one question viability of the network society project as a modern policy-management alternative. Nevertheless, it is hoped that as the network involvement of Russian citizens increases, the political potential of the virtual communication space will increase, too.

social networks; social media; political relations; political involvement; digital technologies; digital inequality; social inequality; civil society; legitimization of political power


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