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Round table "transformation of the forms and expressions of social protest in the emerging global information society"
Material posted: Publication date: 09-01-2012

At the end of 2011, when after the Duma elections, Russia experienced the new technologies of social protest, we organized a survey of experts in a number of CIS countries. The survey was attended by experts from Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan and Ukraine.

The main objective is to determine the experts ' opinion about current events, to understand what they have in common and how they differ in different countries. We raised the question of how bydyt to develop technologies of social protest and what to expect in the medium term. Proceedings of the roundtable are available on our website.

Rallies on Bolotnaya square and the Sakharov Avenue in Moscow, timed to the elections to the Russian state Duma and gathered according to different estimates up to a hundred thousand people, and became the largest protest events in Russia since the "dashing nineties". Assessment of the actions of the authorities before and during the performances showed that she's not quite aware of what was happening, I felt a bit nervous in making the right decisions.

But the situation in Moscow was not unexpected. Such a development was expected, it warned, to prepare for it. Because before that was the "orange revolution" in Kiev, was the Arab spring, were the events in Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and Belarus. The Western world is also not left behind: Paris, London, Rome, Athens and Washington have become the Premier locations in the statements of the various protest groups.

But the reality was substantially more different than it was seen originally: mobilization potential was much stronger and more attractive, and the power of the crowd is much more impressive than that seen on the screens in the reports from other distant points of confrontation between the authorities and the crowd.

Unfortunately, combining for most of the protests of recent months (and even years), has become a real deterioration in the lives of most citizens – the financial crisis roiling the recent years, has done its job, significantly undermining the credibility of the authorities. Other things being equal one would assume that the organizers of the crisis had set itself this goal – financial problems to destabilize the government in a number of problem areas, to achieve the rise of protest moods in the society and use them as a catalyst in the implementation of waste scenarios "velvet revolution".

After Moscow broke out of Kazakhstan. And here, according to most analysts, social protest has clearly been used and guided to destabilize one of the most significant geopolitical developments of recent months is the formation of the Customs Union.

The essential difference with the current wave of protests on their prototypes, five years ago began large-scale use of high technology. First of all technologies of mobile communications and the Internet, was widely used for the mobilization of protest groups. Twitter and Facebook have become nearly as essential attributes of social protest as a facial handkerchief, "Molotov cocktail" and a portrait of Che Guevara.

Interesting was also the position of the media – they vividly commented on the riots and demonstrations, seeking all available means to exaggerate and inflate the scale of what is happening. And now commenting on the riots abroad, but the media also vigorously began to work on their own "rebels". It would seem – why to increase the audience who can see information about the protest? Because it is one of the prerequisites of a successful struggle, in particular, with the manifestation of terror – not to give the terrorists access to the media.

Preliminary analysis showed that the technological basis of the protests have much in common – and in Cairo, and in Minsk in the environment the protesters distributed leaflets about similar content: how to equip, how to deal with police, how to seize the administrative building. The style of presentation was so uniform that definitely gave out and a single source of such materials. Differed, in fact, only the language of these leaflets.

Common was that in all cases power, as a rule, began to fight only with the visible manifestation of the protest: demonstrations were dispersed, arrested party, etc. Such actions were quickly picked up by the media, demonstrating the brutality and inflexibility of the authorities that only increased the number of supporters and sympathizers "rebels".

So what happens? Recent events in several countries (including Russia) it is really a social protest, as stated in the conditions of an information society or a new social technology? Why wait for tomorrow when information technology will penetrate even deeper into even broader segments of the population? How common technological bases and the ideological basis of the protests in the EU, USA, Arab world and in the CIS? With these and other questions we turn to our experts.

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