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GV Face: Understanding #RussiaVotes 2013 with Kevin Rothrock and Andrey Tselikov

On September 8, 2013 millions of Russians lined up to vote in local and regional elections throughout the country. Dozens of executive and legislative positions were up for grabs, including mayor’s seats in Moscow and Yekaterinburg, where prominent opposition bloggers Alexey Navalny and Evgeny Roizman challenged the status quo in uniquely contested races.

Our RuNet Echo editors Kevin Rothrock and Andrey Tselikov got together on Google Hangout on Air on September 13, 2013 to discuss the aftermath of #RussiaVotes and also gave their insight into Russia's provocative and often humorous citizen media scene.

These are the questions they addressed:

  1. Was the use of social media and citizen journalism in Russia's recent elections something that actively shaped the course of voting and reactions to voting results?
  2. The two most prominent Russian opposition members running for mayors offices where Alexey Navalny in Moscow and Evgeny Roizman in Yekaterinburg. Both these men are also very visible bloggers, and both put their social media presence to work in their campaigns. What role exactly did their blogs play in their campaigns? How fair is it to identify these candidates as “bloggers”? What does the label capture and what does it miss?
  3. More generally, was the use of social media and citizen journalism something that shaped the campaign itself (not just the voting)? In what ways, and what changed from 2011 and 2012 when all of the tools were already available? Or was the campaign's success determined on the ground?
  4. How effective is online misinformation in a modern political campaign? How effective is negative campaigning in the especially ideologically polarized world of RuNet?
  5. Following the Navalny campaign's contestation of the Moscow mayoral results, what are the prominent trends online in reactions to Navalny's complaints and his rationale offered for rejecting the official results?
  6. What are some of the strategies and tools used when trying to uphold/contest the results by people outside the campaigns? Are these strategies effective?

Tweet @globalvoices with #RussiaVotes or leave a comment below to give us your thoughts on these topics. Read more on our special coverage page Russia Votes.

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