Year of Graduation
Emily sushu Couch
The Inter-Regional Diffusion of Russian Protest Repertoires in an International Context, 2008 - Present
International Relations in Eurasia
Social Movement Theory and Russia Scholarship have witnessed surprisingly little interdisciplinary dialogue. Uniting these fields, this study analyses the development of repertoire in post-Soviet Russia and its diffusion between regions. It hypothesises a hierarchical relationship between Russia’s major cities – particularly Moscow and St. Petersburg – and ‘the regions’ in which the former act as repertoire developers and brokers to the latter. It further hypothesises that international examples of protest exert significant influence on these developers/brokers. Compiling databases using opposition website namarsh.ru, the study analyses repertoire diffusion in three case studies: The 2008/9 Financial Crisis Protests, the 2011/12 Election Cycle Protests, and the 2018/19 Anti-Pension Reform Protests. Discourse analysis of textual and visual data are used to analyse the salience of inter-regional and trans-national diffusion for Russian protestors. The study finds that Russia’s capitals, and international protests, do not play as significant a role in repertoire development or protestor discourse as hypothesised, with protestors tending to domesticate rather than globalise their actions. It further contends that the aforementioned case studies highlight the need to rework existing Diffusion Theory.