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Article

Выборы президента РФ - 2018 в зеркале мемов: новые реалии политической коммуникативистики

Political internet memes are a little studied contemporary phenomenon situated at the nexus of digital culture and political communication. Meaningful as a unit of cultural transmission of information in the network, a meme can be seen, on the one hand, as a spontaneous product of the creativity of the masses, political participation mechanism, and on the other – as an instrument of political PR-technologies. The article is devoted to the results of a study of memes posted on Russian social media during the presidential election campaign – 2018; the purpose of this work was the formation of ideas about the essence of the political meme in Runet and the study of the specifics of its application in Russian election communication. On the basis of the data obtained there are analysed the leading functions of political memes of the Runet, their main varieties, semantic characteristics of memes that form the image of Russian politicians. The study of large arrays of memetic messages made it possible to judge which thematic "accents" of election campaigns of candidates are in demand by producers and distributors of memes, and also what are the features of the transformation of information into memes.

The study shows that the 2018 Russian presidential campaign is characterized by changes in communication technologies, caused, among other things, by general changes in the media landscape and the arrival of "new digital" generations. At the same time, memes, which make up a large share of social media content and a predominant vector of their users' communication exchange, in recent years have increasingly changed their character from entertainment to political and become an important aspect of Web 2.0 policy. As a result, we should note the strengthening of entertainment  and "carnivalization" of electoral processes as well as the transformation of the Internet into a kind of network battleground of various political actors for a place in the news agenda. The relevance of the study is given by the fact that, unlike foreign researchers who actively interpret the role of memetics in electoral processes, the political potential of the Internet meme has been studied in the Russian scientific tradition only in the very first approximation.