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Article

Развлекать и властвовать: образы российской власти и оппозиции в интернет-мемах

The political Internet meme is one of the little-studied phenomena of modern
digital culture. Understood as a unit of transmission of cultural information in the
network, such a meme can be viewed, on the one hand, as a spontaneous product of
the creative work of many people, a mechanism of political participation and, on the
other, as a tool of political PR technologies, a way to “overstate” or “understate” the image of a political leader. The novelty of the proposed article, which is devoted to
the results of the study of the memes posted on Russian social media in 2017–2019,
is in the fact that it describes the first attempt to trace the formation of the images of
Russian power and opposition embodied in memetic constructions. Using the methods
of communication research (primarily those of semantic, semiotic and comparative
analysis), as well as relying on expert interview data, the author of the article
solves the main task of identifying the leading varieties of Runet’s political memes as
well as the semantic characteristics of the memes that form the image of Russian
politicians. One of the most important conclusions could be the observation that from
the point of view of the potential of their viral spread and the possibility of being noticed
by the Runet audience the most effective Internet memes are “negative”, aggressive
political ones (the memes that work to “understate” the image of a political persona /or idea /or event).