[PAST EVENT] Russia's Digital Revolution: Language, New Media, and the (Un)making of Civil Society
March 18, 2013
3:30pm - 5pm
Recent world events have shown that new media technologies are neither democratic nor authoritarian by nature or design. Depending on a variety of factors--cultural, political, and technological--they have the capacity to both aid and suppress revolution. That being said, Web 2.0 technologies such as blogs, social networking, and crowd-sourcing sites nearly always begin as alternative spaces and, as such, naturally attract oppositional voices. In the United States political blogging grew out of a frustration with the mainstream coverage of the television and print media for being (from either left or right) too "mainstream." This has especially been the case in Russia, where Vladimir Putin and associates have maintained tight control over print media and broadcast television especially. Be it in the transformation of the ruling United Russia party into the "Party Swindlers and Thieves," state-sponsored "Government" projects, or behind-the-scenes hacking and "botnet" attacks, the Russian-language internet (or "Runet") has assumed an increasingly critical role in rewriting the rules of civil discourse. Particularly as the Russian internet continues to grow and compete with mainstream broadcast media for the public eye, how public virtual space comes to be designed, defined, occupied and contained will have a considerable impact on the political language and the polity itself for years to come.