The occupation of Runet? : The tightening state regulation of the Russian-language section of the internet
Lonkila, Markku; Shpakovskaya, Larisa; Torchinsky, Philip (2020). The occupation of Runet? : The tightening state regulation of the Russian-language section of the internet. In Wijermars, Mariëlle; Lehtisaari, Katja (Eds.) Freedom of Expression in Russia's New Mediasphere, BASEES/Routledge Series on Russian and East European Studies. Abingdon: Routledge, 17-38. DOI: 10.4324/9780429437205-2
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In this chapter, we scrutinise the Russian state’s regulation for political purposes of the Russian-language section of the internet or ‘Runet’, as it is often dubbed in Russia. We will focus on those regulative actions which came into force during and after the protest wave in Russia in 2011–2013. Internet and social media played an important role in the mobilisation of these protests that challenged the legitimacy of the ruling elite. We argue that the protests marked a watershed moment in the Russian government’s information policy, which had previously mainly functioned through the control of the federal Russian TV channels. After the protests, the Kremlin mounted a campaign to regulate the political use of Runet. This campaign was implemented through a wide variety of on- and offline actions, which we call the ‘occupation’ of Runet. Instead of an isolated event, the occupation can be seen as part of the more general trend of restricting Russian civil society during the Putin–Medvedev tandem. ...