Canaries in a Coal Mine: The Uphill Struggle of Russia’s Non-System Liberals
- Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization
- Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, The George Washington University
- Volume 24, Number 3, Summer 2016
- pp. 291-325
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- Additional Information
Since the electoral protest cycle of 2011/12, Russia’s non-system liberal opposition has faced enormous obstacles in its efforts to secure popular support and political representation. Putin’s resurgent authoritarianism has placed new restrictions on mass-demonstrations, media ownership and the use of social media, but these have not dampened the efforts of liberal activists and notables to organize and to use social media to communicate their political message. Rather, on the contrary, they have challenged the state and the regime at great personal risk and cost. This article explores the political struggle of this group, as well as its use of strategic frames, social media exposure and organizational tactics. It argues that although organizational disarrays persist due to the high pressure of the regime, the most active groups have had greater success in employing potentially resonant frames of identification and disruptive tactics in the passionate and relentless struggle for civic and electoral rights.