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NORRUSS-Nordområdene og Russland

New Political Groups and the Russian State (2008-2012) (NEPORUS)

Alternative title: null

Awarded: NOK 5.6 mill.

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Project Period:

2013 - 2018

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The NEPORUS (New Political Groups and the Russian State) project set out to analyse the effect of the 2011/2012 electoral cycle protests (Duma and presidential elections) on popular mobilisation and the emergence of new political groups in Russia. The project consisted of 3 national researchers (Flikke, Kolstø and post-doc Østbø) and 5 international researchers (from the USA, Sweden and Russia). Research activities were divided into the following sub-groups: - developments within the executive, the dual state and government/presidential relations; - social media and framing: the sustainability of protest mobilization; - state-sponsored counter-movements and framing; - legal developments and the NGO sector; - networks and mobilization: political groups, framings and frame resonance in society. The project members have designed a two-stage survey (70 questions), which was conducted by ROMIR in 2014. In addition to this, the NEPORUS project has made 27 in-depth interviews with activists/representatives from the Russian NGO sector on changes in the framework for NGOs. The Norwegian partner, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, have facilitated these interviews. The NEPORUS is registered with the project number 228205 at the Norwegian Centre for Research Data (NSD). The NEPORUS project has delivered one special issue (Demokratizatsiya, summer 2017, 5 articles) and 9 peer-reviewed articles published in the project period.

In the course of the 2011-2012 electoral cycle of Duma (parliament) and presidential elections an old and yet new phenomenon arose in Russia; for the first time since the early 1990s, collective action and mass-demonstrations swept through Moscow, St. Pet ersburg and other large cities in Russia. Demonstrations counting between 70 000 and 120 000 protesters took the state by surprise. In addition to widespread usage of social media as a means of communication, the symbolic imagery used by protesters was in novative. Protest movements also showed resilience. Regular demonstrations were held from December 2011 to May 2012, with closure coming only after the Putin inauguration and the adoption of restrictive legislative changes in the NGO legislation. In spi te of the fact that the cycle of collective action was short-lived, and that it was curtailed and neutralized by police crackdowns against demonstrators, these events are calls for a reassessment of assumptions that Russia's civil society is inherently we ak. Moreover, the impression of a state-monolith in Russia also has to be adjusted. Even after the demonstrations, it seems that the new frame for legitimacy (Putin's extensive use of the term 'patriotism') does not pacify protests and that there is a fun damental dissonance between the frames of legitimacy of the state and societal movements. Drawing on social movement theories, this project asks fundamental questions about the mobilization capacity of new political groups in Russia, what conditions ena ble and disable social protest movement and civil society organization in Russia (legal frameworks, funding, social media), and which counter-strategies that are adopted by the state to curtail social movements. It involves a network of well-established i nternational area-specialists and makes use of both qualitative and quantitative methods to understand the ormation of new political groups in post-communist Russia.

Publications from Cristin

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NORRUSS-Nordområdene og Russland