For God, for Tsar and for the Nation: Authenticity in the Russian Imperial Movement’s Propaganda

This paper will examine how extremist organizations manage to present themselves as credible actors in the eyes of potential supporters on social media. This paper will address this question by exploring the role of authenticity in strategic narratives, which is believed to help these groups achieve this purpose. Apart from introducing this new theoretical concept, the paper will also apply it to a new case study of the Russian Imperial Movement (RIM) – the first far-right organization to be designated as terrorist by the U.S. and Canada. By conducting discourse analysis of the group’s social media propaganda on the Russian network VKontakte, the paper will show how the RIM makes its strategic narratives authentic and, as a consequence, creates an image of a credible and trustworthy actor and thus manages to reach out to its target audience.

Tags: far-right, Russian Imperial Movement, Social Media, Vkontakte