Popular Protest

Lead Data Analyst: Katerina Tertytchnaya

In recent years, a number of unpopular rulers have been toppled from power when ordinary citizens took to the streets to demand political change. Many authoritarian regimes in post-Soviet states and elsewhere however have avoided the fate of leaders swept from power in the wake of mass uprisings. Behind the façade of stability however, popular protest is a regular occurrence in many non-democratic states. To understand under what conditions people mobilize to demand change, we need to carefully study the dynamics of popular protest going beyond the Colour-Revolution-type scenarios. As part of this objective, longitudinal data on protest events across Russia have been assembled covering nearly ten years (2007-2016); these data are constantly updated. Specifically, we are gathering data on protest across the regions of the Russian Federation that includes entries on protest participation; issues (political, socio-economic, and civic); targets; and repertoires. Recently, we have also started gathering data on protests in Ukraine, notably in the Crimean region that Russia annexed in 2014. Following Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, politics in the two countries have become to a significant extent intertwined. Russia’s involvement in Ukraine is as much instrumental in shaping Ukrainian citizens’ mobilization, their political and foreign policy orientations, as the events in Ukraine are instrumental in shaping the dynamics of popular nationalism in Russia, of protest, and of support for President Vladimir Putin. An analysis of popular mobilisation in the two countries, and how it is shaped by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, therefore becomes of paramount importance for understanding and predicting the politics of the two states.

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