Impact of the sovereignization of the Russian internet segment on political opposition
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The digital revolution transformed the way in which people interact with one another and the state and redefined our means and manners of communication. This thesis examines the impact that internet restrictions can have on political activity using the example of Russia’s “sovereign Internet” legislation and its impact on Russia’s political opposition. The research touches upon the framework of digital sovereignization, its possible effects on “non-systemic” opposition, and potential impact on the Internet as a whole. The hypothesis of this work was largely proven correct following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which served as a catalyst for digital sovereignization processes in the Russian Federation. The findings indicate the factors that could be used by state authorities to determine which online platforms constitute the highest risks for a political regime and assess the likelihood of further developments. The data used and assessed within the first chapter of this work was largely compiled prior to the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation on February 24th 2022 and reflects the author’s estimates of the potential impact of different sovereignization scenarios on Russia’s “non-systemic” opposition. The purpose of the second chapter was to document the effects of the war on Russia’s efforts at Internet sovereignization, compare them to the prognoses made in the first chapter of the work, and evaluate the differences between the author’s prognoses and practical implementation.
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