Civil society against stately cybercontrol: the case of Russia
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This thesis investigates the Russian liberal civil society – a part of the Russian civil society that strives for a domestic socio-political change, democratization and liberalization of the current order – in cyberspace, where it must battle growing pressure from the state, seeking to control all dissent. I hypothesize that in its reaction to the stately cybercontrol, the liberal civil society develops cybersecurity practices that make it more potent and allow for a counteraction against the state. Hence, I use in-depth expert interviews and focus groups with representatives of the liberal civil society to collect the data for qualitative content analysis to analyze the research question. As a result, the thesis discovers a wide range of societal cybersecurity practices beyond defensive actions to include resistant components. Hence, I conclude that the Russian liberal civil society, although experiencing significant pressure that hinders its efficiency, can fight off the state’s attacks on it and continues to develop itself. The results of this study could be of value for viewing Russia not as a singular actor but as a context in which liberal powers are struggling against the authoritarian regime.
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