Distinguishing Features Of The Activity Of Extreme Right Groups Under Conditions Of State Counteraction To Online Extremism In Russia

The conservative shift taken by Russian authorities forced members of the Russian extreme right to seek shelter online. Nevertheless, they fell under censorship restrictions. The objective of this study is to reveal the distinguishing features of extreme right online groups and their participants’ activity under conditions of censorship. The groups studied were identified by means of linguistic markers of extreme right sentiments and attitudes. The metrics of social network analysis were used to analyze interconnections between the groups and the internal migrations of closed communities. The study revealed that (1) extreme right online communities use the tactic of creating mirror Internet sites in case the main group is blocked; (2) blocking of the most extreme oppositional extreme right online groups induces the remaining ones to imitate obedience to law, using “softer forms” of extremist rhetoric; (3) the audience of the blocked groups continues spreading extremist ideas through channels related to other subjects. The study’s authors conclude that prohibiting extreme right discourse promotes the proliferation of extreme right ideas and sentiments.

Tags: Censorship, Extreme Right, Russia