Belarus Authorities’ Counter-Revolutionary ICTs Tactics: 2001-2010

EAStudies Volodymyr Lysenko (University of Washington) and I have a paper accepted in Europe-Asia Studies.

Belarus authorities’ counter-revolutionary tactics related to information and communication technologies in 2001-2010: lessons learned

Information and communication technology (ICT)-enabled revolutionary tactics play an important role in uprisings against non-democratic regimes worldwide. Up to now, a critical understanding of how authorities in those countries employ ICT-based counter-revolutionary measures has been missing. In this paper we examine the evolution of ICT-based counterrevolutionary tactics employed by one of the most ingrained authoritarian regimes—that of Belarus—through the last decade (2001-2010). The political opposition’s responses to the authorities’ countermeasures are also investigated, followed by an analysis of the co-evolution of these opponents’ ICT-related tactics. We suggest that use of ICT (by both sides) was not among the main factors leading to Belarus’ failed colour revolution. Rather, factors such as miscalculations on the side of the opposition; effective preemption by authorities; collaboration with foreign regimes by the authorities; and harsh physically oppressive measures by the authorities played the main part. Based on these conclusions, implications for the general theoretical framework of political cyberprotest in the former USSR are discussed. Finally, practical suggestions for the improvement of dissenters’ use of ICT during major political cyberprotest are provided.

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.