Влияние силового подавления протеста на обсуждение протестной акции в социальных сетях
The focus of this paper is the reaction in social networks to state repressions against the protesters. Being practically unexplored, this topic is examined by the authors at the intersection of two major areas of protest politics: first, the interrelationship between repressions and protest activity and, second, the role of social networks in the dynamics of protest. Basing on the existing theories, we assume that the discussion of the suppressed action should be broader, and should attract more attention of users than the discussion of the action that took place peacefully. In addition, we hypothesize that the violent nature of the suppression of the protest tends to bring its discussion beyond the range of political sympathizers. To test the hypotheses we analyze two protest actions, which took place with a lag of less than a week and were characterized by an overlapping composition of the organizers, but passed according to fundamentally different scenarios. The first action, “Rally in defense of the Internet” / “Rally against Telegram blocking”, took place on April 30, 2018. The second protest action, “He is not our Tzar,” was timed to coincide with the inauguration of V. Putin for a fourth term (May 5, 2018). We collected all publicly available posts (original posts, reposts, comments), containing the word "rally" in any form, from the “Vkontakte” social network for the period in question. The tools of network analysis and descriptive statistics were applied to examine the data. It was shown that the action, suppressed by the police, caused a wider discussion in social networks, - due to both a better resonance in the comments and to a longer and broader discussion in the original posts. The same set of users discussing both actions generated a larger number of posts about the action suppressed by the police. Moreover, the posts devoted to the discussion of this action were more likely to cause a “costly” user reaction. Suppressed rally turned out to provoke a more centralized and “dense” communication. All these empirical findings are in accordance with our hypotheses. Thus, the use of violence by the police contributes both to the expansion of the number of actively involved users and to the improvement of the “quality” of their participation.