Challenges from Below: Dynamics of Contention in Putin’s Russia

Event time: 
Wednesday, April 3, 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Henry R. Luce Hall (LUCE ), 202 See map
34 Hillhouse Avenue
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 

REEES visiting scholar Andrei Semenov present “Challenges from Below: Dynamics of Contention in Putin’s Russia.” Light lunch provided.

Vladimir Putin’s hold over Russian politics at times seems absolute, yet during almost 20 years of his tenure as president and prime minister, his position has in fact been frequently challenged by mass mobilization across the political spectrum. Apart from nation-wide mobilizations (such as the protests against the monetization of benefits in 2005, or the 2011-2012 “For Fair Elections!” campaign), numerous streams of contention—from ethnic and nationalist to labor and environmental—have continued to pressure Putin’s regime. But where, when, and how exactly do Russians wage protests? What types of claims are the most frequent? Which organizations support collective actions in Russia, and who are they targeting? Looking at patterns of collective mobilization in Russia during the 2012-2016 electoral cycle, Andrei Semenov will discuss a newly assembled dataset comprising over 7,000 protest events that occurred in approximately 1,500 locations across the country between 2012 and 2015. This dataset reveals a rich picture of protest activity and speaks directly to the argument that Russians are rational and strategic in choosing confrontation over other courses of action, rather than being obedient and acquiescent.

Andrei Semenov is a political scientist focusing on contentious, electoral, and party politics in contemporary Russia. His research interests encompass public protests, electoral performance of opposition, and civic engagement with the public affairs. His articles appeared in Social Movement Studies, East European Politics, and Demokratizatsiya journals. Currently, Andrei Semenov is a principal investigator of the “Contentious Politics in Russia” project that seeks to uncover contextual factors of collective mobilization in Russia. The primary outcome of the project is a database that comprises public protest events across Russian regions. Other research projects tackle the issues of civic participation in urban development, ethnic regional autonomies, political consequences of economic crisis, and integrity of subnational elections.

Andrei Semenov holds a specialist degree in political science from Tyumen State University (2006) and candidate of science degree in politics from Perm State University (2010). He served as a chair of the International Relations department at TSU, then research fellow and director of the Center for Comparative History and Politics at PSU. Andrei Semenov also taught courses on contentious politics at the University of Tampere (Finland) and European University at Saint-Petersburg (Russia). He has been a visiting fellow at the Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies (Uppsala University, Sweden), Center for East European Studies (University of Bremen, Germany), and Department of Sociology, Eötvös Loránd University (Hungary). His research has been supported by Harvard University, Volkswagen Foundation, Russian Scientific Foundation, Russian Foundation for Fundamental Research, and Russian Scientific Foundation for Humanities.

Andrei Semenov, Associate Research Scholar in European Studies; and Lecturer in Political Science — 2018-2019