Fighting a different enemy. Anti-war protests in Russia through the lens of liminality



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Tartu Ülikool


This research thesis analysed how anti-Ukrainian war resistance in Russia manifested in repressive settings to allow protesters to avoid criminal punishment. It attempted to reveal how the citizens leverage loopholes in the legislation by adopting liminality in order to continue to subvert the Kremlin’s pro-war discourse. The study identified the main types of liminal protests and found the major themes occurring in Russia in 2022 (full scale military operation in Ukraine). The research thesis also offered a pilot framework to measure the Liminality Score (the level of risk avoidance) quantitatively and applied the suggested framework on the slogans from protest in 2022 and from 2014 (annexation of Crimea). The results of quantitative assessment of liminality revealed that there was an increase in the usage of liminality in protests in 2022 compared to 2014 likely caused by the tightening of the Russian legislation related to protesting. The thematic analysis revealed the absence of alternative political forces in Russia in 2022 which could have become an alternative force to the ruling elite.