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NEPORUS. New Political Groups and the Russian State (completed)

The project aims to identify the factors that have enabled the change in the Russian political climate towards increased social mobilization seen in channels such as social media.

About the project

From 2008 to 2012 Russia has experienced a dramatic increase in civil society organization and social movement activity best illustrated by the mass demonstrations that took place in Moscow in 2011.

This project asks the following research questions:

  • What conditions have enabled/disabled social protest movements and civil society organization in Russia (legal frameworks, funding, and social media) in the period 2008–2012?
  • How do these affect social mobilization and changing social identities?
  • What are the counter-strategies adopted by the state?


The project drew on social movement theories (SMT) with some adaptations to major assumptions of recent area studies, with a special focus on the effect of social media on framing, coordination and collective action. The postdoctoral position will be dedicated to exploring this field in detail.

Four themes were outlined, with the basic assumptions of SMT adapted to the post-communist reality of Putin’s Russia.

The major research questions were divided into a subset of researchable themes:

  • 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


NEPORUS involved a network of well-established international area-specialists and made use of both qualitative and quantitative methods to understand the formation of new political groups in post-communist Russia. Scholars from the following institutions were involved in the project:

The NEPORUS project was led by professor Geir Flikke from the University of Oslo.


The project is funded by The Norwegian Research Council.


Critical Perspectives on Putin’s Third Period

In March 2017, several anti-corruption demonstrations took place in Russian cities. Why do Russians take to the streets in 2017, and what is their message? Requires registration.

Time and place: June 2, 2017 8:30 AM–3:30 PM, Litteraturhuset, Wergeland salen

Demonstrations were non-violent and not as large as the 2011/12 electoral demonstrations, and demonstrators were younger. The spark was Aleksei Navalny’s revealing anti-corruption video on Dmitrii Medvedev. This protest was one of many protests in the period from 2012 to 2017.

At the capstone conference of the Norwegian Research Council sponsored project “New Political Groups and the Russian State” (NEPORUS) on June 2nd 2017, we ask the following questions:

  • How do Russians perceive the deliveries of Putin’s third executive term?
  • How does the elite deal with protests and is the elite unified in its pursuit of policy options?  
  • What are the major issues that mobilize non-systemic opposition politicians?


Panel 1: Developments in the Russian Executive:

  • Chair: Ingerid Opdahl (Institute for Defense Studies Norway)
  • Panel 1a): The Putin Executive: Legitimacy and Performance
    • Pat Willerton: Does Putin Deliver? Perceptions of National Identity and the Economy.
    • Bo Petersson: The Halo of Leadership: Putin in a Legitimizing Mythscape
  •  Panel 1b): Critical Perspectives on Elite Unity and Control
    • Caro V. Pallin: Executive Control over Elections and Information: Unity or Disunity?
    • Jardar Østbø (Lecturer. Department of Literature, Area Studies and European Languages, UiO): Spiritual Values: An Elite Panacea?

Panel 2: Developments in Russian Society

  •  Chair: Sirke Mäkinen (University of Tampere)
  • Panel 2a: Non-System Opposition Mobilization and Protesting
    • Pål Kolstø: Bridge Builders and Bridge Wreckers: Who is Navalny?
    • Geir Flikke: “Monstrations for Mocracy”: Irony and Frame Amplification in Youth Protests.
  •  Panel 2b: Trends in Civil Society: Political or Non-Political?
    • Anna Tarasenko: Popular Mobilization in St. Petersburg: Trends and Explanations.
    • Elena Belokurova: Russian NGOs: Trends, Uncertainties and International Contacts.
    • Discussant: Inna Sangadzhieva (NHC)

Conference summary (Rainer-Elk Anders, NORRUSS board)

Tags: Russia
Published Oct. 27, 2020 12:21 PM - Last modified May 19, 2022 10:15 PM