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Charting the co-Evolution of Cyberprotest and Counteraction to appear in Convergence

Volodymyr Lysenko and I have a paper accepted in Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies. Volodymyr is a former PhD student of mine that graduated from the Information School at the University of Washington. This paper draws on work he did while completing his dissertation. The paper is titled, Charting the co-Evolution of Cyberprotest and Counteraction: The Case of Former Soviet Union States from 1997-2011.

In this paper, we investigate the evolution of the modern information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the associated changes in protest-related tactics employed by two main stakeholders in the contemporary contentious political processes—dissenters and incumbent political authorities. Through in-depth investigation of the cyberprotest cases in the former Soviet states of Belarus, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine that occurred during the last decade, a coherent outline is developed of the co-evolution of ICTs-enabled protest tactics of the main counterparts in the contemporary political struggle in these countries. Particularly, it was found that there are at least three highly distinguishable levels of development of modern ICTs and the associated types of protest-related tactics employed by the main stakeholders in these events. We find that as soon as the authorities were able to effectively counteract the previous ICTs-enabled tactics by the dissenters, new developments in modern ICTs always empowered the latter to devise new effective strategies to overcome previously successful counter-revolutionary measures of the political authorities.

Reference: Lysenko, V.V., and Desouza, K.C. “Charting the co-Evolution of Cyberprotest and Counteraction: The Case of Former Soviet Union States from 1997-2011,” Convergence, Forthcoming.

Moldova’s Internet Revolution accepted for Technology Forecasting and Social Change

Volodymyr V. Lysenko, my doctoral student, and I have a paper accepted for publication at Technology Forecasting and Social Change. This paper examines the role that information and communication technologies played in Moldova's Revolution.

Moldova’s Internet Revolution: Analyzing the Role of Technologies in Various Phases of the Confrontation

Abstract: In recent times we have witnessed the fundamental impacts that information and communication technologies (ICTs) have had on the outcomes of contentious political confrontations. In this paper, we analyze the role played by Internet-based and cellular ICTs in Moldova’s Revolution of April 2009. Specifically, we identify what, why, and how technologies were used during various phases of the uprising. Our findings show that: 1) the protesters organized their initial mobilization through social network services (SNS) and short message service (SMS); 2) Twitter was mostly used during later phases of the revolution – the active street protests and the subsequent information war -- for communication about the conflict both locally and globally; and 3) through skillful use of new Internet-based ICTs, it is possible to conduct a successful revolution without noticeable prior offline organization. Theoretical and practical implications for the study of ICTs in contentious political environments are also discussed.