Russia’s Digital Revolution: Language, New Media, and the (Un)making of Civil Society


ACLS Fellowship Program


Languages, Literatures, and Cultures


Will the rapid politicization of the internet in Russia lead to the formation of a more viable civil society, or simply degrade web-based civil discourse? Recent world events have shown that new media are neither “democratic” nor “authoritarian” by nature or design. Depending on a variety of factors, they have the capacity to both aid and suppress revolution. That said, Web 2.0 technologies have provided potent alternative means for civil expression in Russia, where Vladimir Putin has maintained tight control over print and broadcast media. This project offers the first book-length analysis of the rhetorical struggle for authority on the Russian internet and the role of Russian-language new media as a tool for political transformation and control.