At a USIP public event held on October 19, 2010, researchers presented a mapping conducted by Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society and Morningside Analytics. The event was part of USIP’s ongoing Blogs and Bullets initiative. This Peace Brief summarizes the methodology and findings of the Berkman Center/Morningside Analytics researchers and the panel discussion that followed.

pb 72

Summary

  • Analysis of more than 11,000 Russian-language blogs reveals an active political blogosphere comprising internationally linking bloggers; Russian media-focused bloggers; nationalists; members of the democratic opposition; bloggers focused on business, economics, and finance; and social and environmental activists.
  • Russian bloggers tend to be less politically polarized than their counterparts in the American blogosphere, and they prefer to blog about political issues from a nonpartisan position.
  • Future research should focus on the offline outcomes of online political blogging, the effect of blogging platforms on polarization, the responses of the Russian government, and mapping the effects of newer social networking platforms.

About this Brief

This Peace Brief was written by Anand Varghese, senior program assistant to the Center of Innovation for Science, Technology and Peacebuilding. At a USIP public event held on October 19, 2010, researchers presented a mapping conducted by Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society and Morningside Analytics. The event was part of USIP’s ongoing Blogs and Bullets initiative, which seeks to understand online discourse as a cause of conflict and a means for dialogue and has published two reports identifying the need for new analytical tools in this field. This Peace Brief summarizes the methodology and findings of the Berkman Center/Morningside Analytics researchers and the panel discussion that followed.

Related Publications

Russia Pulls Back Troops—But Not Its Threat to Ukraine

Russia Pulls Back Troops—But Not Its Threat to Ukraine

Monday, April 26, 2021

By: Donald N. Jensen, Ph.D.

Russian ships and trains are moving back the tens of thousands of troops massed on Ukraine’s border because, Russia’s defense minister said last week, their “surprise inspection” had “demonstrated their ability to ensure the reliable defense of the country.” In reality, the Kremlin stood down after its saber-rattling failed to unnerve the Ukrainians—and after President Biden warned President Vladimir Putin directly to drop the military threat, effectively...

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Global Policy

A Reason for Hope in Russia’s Industrial Heartland

A Reason for Hope in Russia’s Industrial Heartland

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

By: Paul M. Carter Jr., Ph.D.

The courageous return to Russia and arrest of Alexei Navalny opened a new phase in the opposition to President Vladimir Putin’s rule. Not only were the ensuing demonstrations the largest and most widespread since 2011-2012, but the opposition also showed itself to be more daring, aggressive and creative. The authorities responded with arrests of organizers and activists throughout the country and recently detained 200 elected local officials and others gathered at a conference in Moscow to discuss municipal self-government. The run-up to parliamentary elections scheduled for September will be the next opportunity for the opposition to show its strength.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

What is Russia’s Endgame in Syria?

What is Russia’s Endgame in Syria?

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

By: Mona Yacoubian

Five years into Russia’s military intervention in Syria, understanding Moscow’s endgame could provide critical insights into the decade-long conflict’s trajectory, as well as Russia’s posture in the Middle East and beyond. Although still evolving and subject to internal debates, Moscow’s Syria strategy appears to be centered on a “spheres of influence” model. In this model, Syria is divided into distinct realms under the sway of competing external patrons.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

From Navalny to the Economy, Russia Protests Reveal Mass Dissatisfaction

From Navalny to the Economy, Russia Protests Reveal Mass Dissatisfaction

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

By: Donald N. Jensen, Ph.D.

Russia was rocked by demonstrations over the weekend, as thousands braved freezing temperatures to protest the detention of dissident Alexei Navalny. The opposition leader had just returned to Russia after recovering from a poisoning attack, suspected to undertaken by the Kremlin. But Russians’ grievances go well beyond the treatment of Navalny. Corruption, a foundering economy, and dissatisfaction with the ruling elite threaten to propel the protests into a broader movement against President Vladimir Putin’s regime. The Kremlin has alleged that the protests are a Western plot to destabilize Russia. USIP’s Donald Jensen looks at the underlying factors driving the protests, what threat they pose to Putin’s regime, and what, if any, role the United States can play.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

View All Publications