Lankina, Tomila V. (2016) It’s Not All Negative: Russian Media’s Flexible Coverage of Protest as a Regime Survival Strategy, No. 449. PONARS Eurasia, Washington, DC, USA.
Pundits continue to debate whether economic shocks, public discontent at home, and isolation abroad will shake President Vladimir Putin’s regime. Much of the commentary on Putin’s survival strategies has focused on repression and aggressive military posturing. This somewhat obscures another important strategy: being highly sensitive to the public mood, deftly reacting to public sentiment, and effecting rapid policy shifts to moderate public dissent.
Continue reading “New PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo on Russian media”
Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis are joined by Sarah Kendall, Ellie Taylor, Luke Kempner, Pippa Evans and Dr. Tomila Lankina to present the news via topical stand up and sketches on BBC Radio 4. Some of the topics up for discussion in this week’s episode: US election result;, Trump; the soothing powers of the word of the year; Putin; and puppets.
Audio file is available on the PONARS Eurasia website.
Katerina Tertytchnaya and Tomila Lankina, 20 September 2016
In recent years, economic hardship in Russia has led to an increase in industrial and socioeconomic protest activity across regions. Protests over wage arrears, strikes and hunger strikes were particularly prominent in the first 8 months of the current year. And although the Russian Communist Party (KPRF) is particularly active in coordinating protest events across Russia’s regions, many protest events are spontaneous and grass-roots based. Overall, beyond labor protests, Russians appear very concerned about housing issues and the increase in prices for services such as transport. In this post we analyze variation in protest activity over time and across types of protests to study whom protesters pursuing various causes blame. We do so by studying where protest events take place (for example, whether they take place in front of the local town hall or regional parliament), the slogans and expressions protesters use, the images and text on their placards and posters, as well as journalistic descriptions of the events. Protest data for this analysis are harvested from namarsh.ru. Focusing on blame attribution during protest events in order to understand public opinion has several advantages over employing more abstract concepts like economic voting patterns. (On the question and analysis of Russian protests in recent years, see a report by CEPR). The protest categories we employ here further allow us to study patterns of blame attribution depending on the causes advanced in each of the events.
Continue reading “Whom do Russian protesters blame (and why it matters)?”
Tomila Lankina and Katerina Tertytchnaya have presented their work on the effects of regional protests on public opinion at the 112th Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association which took place on 1-4 September 2016 in Philadelphia.The paper analyzes the extent to which the 2011-2012 sub-national electoral protests in Russia swayed public opinion towards the protesters’ demands. An earlier version of this paper had been also presented at the Annual Meeting of the European Political Science Association (EPSA) in Brussels in June 2016. The paper is available here: Tertytchnaya_Lankina_APSA_Paper_and_Appendix
Katerina Tertytchnaya, who analyses protest trends in Russia for the project, has recently been awarded a Fulbright-Schuman Fellowship to conduct research at Columbia University in New York. During this time, Katerina will research how economic sanctions affected domestic politics and presidential approval in Russia. She will continue to work closely with the Popular Mobilization project team, bringing together evidence from public opinion, media analysis and protest trends. The Fulbright-Schuman Program is jointly financed by the U.S. State Department and the Directorate-General for Education and Culture of the European Commission.
Tomila Lankina has been recently an invited speaker at the Transatlantic Academy in Washington, DC where she gave a talk on popular mobilization in Russia and on Russia’s media manipulation in the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s confrontational foreign policy continues to impose high costs on his country, contributing to economic decline, continued corruption, and political isolation. A shrinking circle of people around the Kremlin is involved in opaque decision-making while economic and social problems are given less consideration than political and security issues. To what extent is Russia’s regressive path sustainable? What is the role of Russian elites both at home and in exile in influencing the policies of the Russian government in the short and medium-term? How do European governments and business communities assess the sustainability of the Putin system? Should we expect a rise in socio-economic and political discontent in the coming months leading up to Russia’s fall 2016 parliamentary elections?
To discuss these issues, the LSE International Relations Department will be holding a roundtable panel involving leading experts on Russian domestic and foreign policies including fellows from the Transatlantic Academy in Washington, DC.
More information on this event
Coverage of the Euromaidan protests by select Russian state-controlled media (Rossiyskaya gazeta, Komsomolskaya pravda, Izvestiya newspapers; and Russia 1, Channel 1 and NTV TV channels); and independent Russian and Ukrainian media sources (Rosbalt, Interfax and Zerkalo nedeli). Lower values (“score” line) represent a tendency to portray protests as disorder, while higher values indicate a freedom to protest trend in the media framing of protests. K1-K4 represent spikes in media coverage of protest.
Data for the Russian Protests Dataset is collected from the namarsh.ru website. The data cover protests ranging from small-scale acts to large-scale demonstrations featuring tens of thousands of protesters. For each protest event we collect information regarding the following: (i) the date and location of the protest event; (ii) type of protest, such as whether the protest event is a strike, demonstration, march, occupation or other; (iii) number of participants, where such information is available; and (iv) whether police repression and/or other forms of disruption were used during the event. The dataset does not include events organized by the ruling United Russia party or by pro-government youth movements like Nashi.
Continue reading “Description of Protest Data”