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Did Russia (Nearly) have a Facebook Revolution in 2011? Social Media's Challenge to Authoritarianism



What has become known as the ‘coloured revolutions’ first emerged as a distinctively post-Soviet phenomenon. In December 2011 it appeared as if Russia might have a coloured revolution of its own, having met several of the basic preconditions, notably a contested election and widespread social protest co-ordinated through social media. Using a national survey conducted immediately after the December 2011 Duma election, this article reveals widespread concern about the integrity of the election and strong public support for the demonstrators' demands. Social media, in the form of Facebook, are found to have been instrumental in disseminating information about the protests. The implications of these findings for the use of social media in future anti-regime protests are discussed.

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