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Technologies for Analysis and Communication Management as an Indicator of Public Sphere Change in Russia
Analysis and Forecasting. IMEMO Journal

Technologies for Analysis and Communication Management as an Indicator of Public Sphere Change in Russia

DOI: 10.20542/afij-2019-2-75-82
© 2019 M. Kotlyarov
Received 10.10.2019.
Maxim V. KOTLYAROV (, 
Institute of History SB RAS, 8, Nikolaev Str., 630090, Novosibirsk, Russian Federation. 

The article deals with the Russian technologies for automated analysis and public communications management: media and social networks monitoring software and the Incident Management system. The progress in development of these technologies indicates the transformation of the public sphere in Russia over the past thirty years.

The first media monitoring systems were developed for the Committee for State Security (KGB) during perestroika in order to more quickly track public information in the context of democratization and glasnost. These technologies entered the market in the mid-1990-s, when there was a sharp increase in the number of media and public actors. The architecture of the first media monitoring and analysis systems reflects the specifics of the public sphere of the “pre-digital” era. It had a stable structure, the information was cataloged by the type of media (TV, radio, periodicals), branches of knowledge and topics.

The Internet, especially social media, in the 2000-s, changed the structure of the public sphere. Millions of citizens joined public communication, creating unpredictable dynamics of the public content. The “Arab Spring” in the Middle East and North Africa, and then the mass protests in Russia in 2011-2012, proved the significant informational and mobilization potential of social networks. The transformation of the public sphere caused a «boom» in the market for monitoring and analysis technologies. Business and Russian government began actively using such technologies to track information risks.

In the process of developing social network monitoring services, fundamentally new properties of public space were discovered. Unlike traditional media, the importance of the speed of information dissemination was hyperbolized in the era of the Internet, the scale of information sources was constantly expanding, and the emotionality of content had a direct impact on user actions.

The Incident Management system was introduced into the practice of the Russian authorities in 2018, designed to quickly respond to negative messages on social networks throughout the country. The most important reason for the widespread implementation of the Incident Management system was the need to respond to criticism in social networks so that the negative content did not spread and did not reach the federal or foreign media. The introduction of this digital platform was accompanied by legislative changes aimed at establishing control over the network infrastructure and the dissemination of public information on the Internet. In particular, legislative amendments introduce large fines for the dissemination of “dangerous” fake news and the publication of materials that express disrespect for society, the state, authorities, the symbols of Russia and the Constitution. Final amendments also provide for technical tools to be installed in the communication networks so that the source of the transmitted traffic can be identified. This equipment should allow blocking access to resources with forbidden information not only at network addresses, but also by prohibiting the passage of traffic. This infrastructure will ensure the operability of Russian Internet resources in case when it is impossible to connect Russian telecom operators to foreign root servers. The deployment of the Incident Management system and new laws was an important milestone in the development of the information policy, one of the key tasks of which was the centralized management of communications in cyberspace.


About the author:

Maxim V. KOTLYAROV, Cand. Sci. (Hist.), Senior Researcher, Deputy Director for Scientific Work.

For citation:

Kotlyarov M. Technologies for Analysis and Communication Management as an Indicator of Public Sphere Change in Russia. Analysis & Forecasting. Journal of IMEMO, 2019, no 2, pp. 75-82.

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