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Social media infrastructure of the Russians civic participation: the analysis of audience intersection graphs for socio-political communities on Runet

Research Article

Anna Y. Dombrovskaya Doctor of Sociology
Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, Moscow, Russia
ORCID ID=0000-0002-2015-2349
Roman V. Parma Candidate of Political Science
Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, Moscow, Russia
ORCID ID=0000-0002-3413-4264
Arthur A. Azarov Candidate of Technical Sciences
Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, Moscow, Russia
ORCID ID=0000-0003-3240-597X
Social media infrastructure of the Russians civic participation: the analysis of audience intersection graphs for socio-political communities on Runet.
Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2021. Vol. 12. No. 2. P. 158-174

The study was carried out with the financial support of the RFBR and the EISR within the framework of the scientific project no. No. 20-011-31484.

Дата поступления статьи: 30.04.2021
This Article is downloaded: 1310 times
Topic: Civil Culture And Civil Activities Reflected In Cyberspace

For citation:
Dombrovskaya A. Y., Parma R. V., Azarov A. A. Social media infrastructure of the Russians civic participation: the analysis of audience intersection graphs for socio-political communities on Runet. Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2021. Vol. 12. No. 2. P. 158-174
DOI: https://doi.org/10.19181/vis.2021.12.2.720


The article presents the results of the analysis of the digital infrastructure of civil and political participation of Russians, it shows the connections between the audiences of online network communities, reflecting markers of the attitude of Russian social media users to the current government and indicators of the involvement of Russian citizens in the implementation of social initiatives. To construct graphs, we used a tool for unloading information and modeling the infrastructure of social connections of graphs, created on the basis of the programming language R. Additionally, the vkR packages were used to unload information from the VKontakte social network, as well as the igraph and ggraph packages for working with graphs and arcdiagram for visualisation. To interpret the empirical data, the principles of the network approach and the methodology of smart search for digital markers of socio-political processes were applied. As a result of the study, indicators of the density of communications between digital groups of political and civil participation were revealed, and the intersection of their audiences was established. Segments of the infrastructure of connections are shown both for all socio-media communities (research cases) and for each block of communities classified on two grounds: orientation (loyal or critically oriented towards the authorities) and type of group (political or civil). The intersection of audiences of loyalist and oppositional online communities was revealed and reflected in the graphs. The disunity and distance between loyalist, conventional audiences of groups carrying out political communication from civil groups, who are also constructively disposed towards the authorities, are shown. Revealed and graphically interpreted the techniques of capturing the user audience in the activities of opposition online leaders. Risks of a low density of connections between audiences of loyal social media communities have been substantiated. A relatively high density of connections has been established between opposition political online groups aimed at forming unconventional, deconsolidating attitudes of Russian social media users. Basic measures have been formulated to overcome the danger of consolidating supporters of opposition digital groups and the risks of increasing the influence of critical online leaders among the loyalist audience.


online civil participation, online political participation, social media, social graphs, digital infrastructure, density of connections between online network communities, intersection of digital audiences



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