Digitally-Mediated Political Participation in a Comparative Perspective
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Digitally-Mediated Political Participation in a Comparative Perspective
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Susanna Pshizova 
Occupation: Associate professor, Faculty of Public Administration, Lomonosov Moscow State University
Affiliation: Lomonosov Moscow State University
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow

Against the background of growing tensions in relations between the East and the West, between EU and US, between Russia and its Western "partners", one can observe the obvious similarity of some tendencies in the domestic political development of the opposing countries. Old and new, liberal and procedural (or electoral) democracies are united today by the process of the professionalization of political activity and the mass voter' reaction to it, the legitimacy crisis of political elites and the growth of populist practices. Countries with so different previous political experience have same ground for the development of these phenomena – digitalization of the political participation and, as a result, the transformation of the entire system of political communications. Moreover, due to the specifics of its historical development Russia in many aspects has been at the forefront of these processes. Therefore, in my opinion, the dominant ideas about the “catching up development” of Russian capitalism and democracy should be supplemented with one more thesis: our country is not lagging behind, but ahead of developed liberal democracies in terms of the implementation of the consequences (including negative ones) of stormy entry of digital networks into politics. This means that our experience in the field is particularly interesting not only for us or for “young democracies” like us, but also for the so-called “old”, well-established systems based on the principal of popular sovereignty. To learn this experience allows seeing and evaluating the potential threats brought by the digitalization of public space more clearly. In addition, after the end of the "transit" era (when the thesis of the historical inevitability of the development of post-communist countries following authoritative Western models, completely dominated in the political science) a theoretical deadlock arose. The conceptualization of the influence of modern digital communications on the production of political action can be one of the tools to fill this theoretical gap. The need to develop such tools for analyzing the public sphere of all kinds of modern democracies is strongly felt in political science.

political communications, Russian politics, political participation, digital technology, modern democracies, digital networks, social networks, postcommunist countries
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