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Data

  • The PEPS database (Protest Events, Photos, and Slogans) compiled by Mischa Gabowitsch (Einstein Forum, Potsdam), Olga Sveshnikova (Research Center for East European Studies, Bremen University), and a number of collaborators, contains data about the Russian protest movement for fair elections that started in December 2011 in response to a rigged election to the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament. See here for a detailed description. Descriptions of older versions of the database are also available in Russian and German.
  • OVD-Info collects data about wrongful (“politically motivated”) detentions and arrests at protest events in Moscow and the Moscow oblast (systematically) as well as Saint Petersburg, Nizhnii Novgorod, and Voronezh (based on correspondents’ reports). Their website features a detailed annual report for 2012 (including December 2011) and quarterly reports for the first, second, and third quarters of 2013, and discusses selection and collection methods, restrictions of the data, etc. English versions of the reports are available for 2012 and for the first quarter of 2013. Data sets are available as sortable web tables (2012, 2013) and in csv format (2012, 2013). The data sets include URLs of sources where available. For December 2011 through December 2012, there is also a map view of detentions in Moscow by district, and a bubble graph that shows the number of those detained by protest theme. (Several recent updates have not yet been reflected in this description. For example, OVD-Info now also collects narrative accounts by detained protesters.)
  • Voices of Protest in Russia is an ongoing data collection project by the Monitoring Contemporary Folklore group (Alexandra Arkhipova, Daria Radchenko, Aleksey Titkov, Marina Baiduz, Anna Kirzyuk, Dmitry Doronin, Anna Sokolova, Danila Rygovsky, Irina Kozlova, Maria Volkova). The group studies protest events as communicative acts by documenting both verbal and non-verbal signs of protest. As of Sep 1, 2016, their database covers over 60 rallies, marches, and pickets from 7 cities, and includes over 9,000 individual coded entries for communicative acts as well as 550 interviews. A more detailed description can be downloaded here. The database is available upon request from the Center for East European Studies at Bremen University.
  • A precursor to that group, the Folklore of the Snow Revolution project, collected thousands of photos of protest paraphernalia, such as signs, costumes, or toy figurines, mostly during the winter of 2011/12. Based on parts of this collection as well as media sources and their own additional samples, Alexandra Sheveleva, Alexandra Arkhipova, and Anton Somin have compiled a data set where 1,000 protest slogans etc documented at rallies in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Tomsk, and Kazan on Dec 10, 17, 24 and 26, 2011, as well as Feb 4, 2012,  are coded for “frame,” age and gender of person holding the sign, etc. A detailed paper drawing on the data is available in a volume edited by Arkhipova; a journalistic piece on the research was published on BBC’s Russian service website.
  • Olesya Lobanova and Andrei Semenov, the authors of The Challengers, a Russian-language blog about contentious politics in Russia (see rss feed on the left), have compiled a data set of protest events and repertoires in Tyumen’ and the Tyumen’ region for 2008-12, based on both media sources and data from the authorities. Their raw data are not publicly available; however, there is a paper in Russian that presents the data and their analysis.
  • The Laboratory of Public Sociology (en), formerly known as the Collective for the Study of Politicization, and the Independent Research Initiative NII mitingov each conducted several hundred interviews with protest participants during and outside of protest events during the 2011-13 cycle of political mobilization, and is now pursuing a similar project to study Maidan and anti-Maidan protests in Ukraine in 2013-14. Mischa Gabowitsch also conducted over 60 interviews with protest participants in Russia as well as Russian activists in Germany.
  • The Institute for Collective Action (IKD) publishes regular updates about individual protest events across Russia, mostly those involving social claims and/or linked to independent trade unions, alter-globalist, and other non-mainstream left-wing groups. The Institute’s statistical compilations are patchy and don’t list their source data. However, Graeme Robertson at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has compiled a large data set for 2007-12 based on IKD’s individual event descriptions as well as regional news published on the web site of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, and will soon make it publicly available.
  • The “Protest News” section on the March of the Dissenters’ March website, associated with Garry Kasparov, lists a large number of protest events across Russia, based on correspondents’ reports. The reports are only available in the form of individual news items; however, Tomila Lankina and Alexey Savrasov have published a short article based on an analysis of the 1,783 protest events recorded on the site between March 2007 and March 2009.
  • The chronicle of protest events (mostly in Moscow) on civitas.ru is rarely updated these days, but it does list a relatively large number of events for 2006-7 in particular.
  • The Levada Center (en) regularly publishes survey data, reports, and analytical articles related to protest in Russia.
  • So does the Public Opinion Foundation. In particular, its weekly “Dominanty” report surveys what it calls “protest moods.” Its general public database tags publications on “protest actions,” with various subcategories.
  • The Center for Social and Labor Rights has been monitoring labor protests in Russia since 2008 and publishes data in the form of graphs, maps, and regular reports. The data are drawn from the media as well as reports by labor organizations, although neither the exact sources nor the raw data are published on the website.
  • Yuliya Skokova and Irina Mersiyanova at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow study domestic election observers in Russia and have published the results of two surveys of such observers carried out in March 2012 and September 2013.
  • Letters to the president: The Russian presidential administration publishes monthly, quarterly, and annual statistical reports (in pdf format) with breakdowns by region, topic, agency the query/appeal has been forwarded to. In Russian; the English version only contains instructions on how to send a letter to the president. (Hat tip to Jan Matti Dollbaum for the link.)
  • Vladimir Varfolomeev’s Intelligentsiia i vlast’ is a table of intellectuals from Moscow and Saint Petersburg and the public petitions they signed between 2000 and 2014 (it also occasionally mentions membership in official bodies and participation in demonstrations). The table is incomplete and does not mention or link to its sources, but it’s a useful starting point for work on petitions, and is presumably thorough at least for the petitions included.
  • Will Wright (UCLA) has compiled a catalog of nonviolent methods used by Russian protesters roughly between 2011 and 2013, organized along the lines of Gene Sharp’s list of 198 methods of nonviolent action.
  • Mark Beissinger at Princeton University makes available his event data set “Mass Demonstrations and Mass Violent Events in the Former USSR, 1987-1992.” Here is his description: “These event databases, which were used for the analysis in my book Nationalist Mobilization and the Collapse of the Soviet State, contain information on 6,663 protest demonstrations and 2,177 mass violent events across the entire territory of the former Soviet Union from January 1987 through December 1992. The databases were constructed on the basis of press reports from over 150 different news sources–sixty of which were examined in their full press runs during the period under investigation (For a full listing of sources consulted, see the codebook that accompanies the files). All data are compressed in PKZIP files. When extracted, the codebook is in Word format and the databases are in Excel format. [1] Data disaggregated at the event level: Click here to download PKZIP file (Disagg.Sovieteventdata.zip) containing codebook and two event databases (one for mass demonstrations, one for mass violent events) [2] Data aggregated by nationality: Click here to download PKZIP file (Aggreg.bynationality.zip) containing codebook and database (aggregated by nationality).” The tables contain references to names of the media sources used for each event (not the exact dates and pages, but in most cases these should be easy to reconstruct), and the first codebook includes detailed discussions of coverage, selection methods, comparison with police statistics, etc.
  • The Research Centre for East European Studies at the University of Bremen has one of the world’s largest collections of print and electronic documents relating to Russian (a) political parties and (b) human rights organizations, many of which are relevant to the study of protest in Russia. Here is a description of their collection, taken from their site: “With regard to Russia, self-published materials issued by political parties / organizations as well as by human rights organizations are being collected. The collection of post-Socialist self-published materials dates back to 1992 and is being added to on an ongoing basis. As of October 2013, the collection catalogue contained 6 000 entries. Political parties / organizations here include all those organizations in Russia which as political actors, rather than lobbyists, strive to be directly involved in the political decision-making processes either at the national, regional, or local level. A catalogue of the complete holdings of documents relating to Russian political parties and organizations can be downloaded here. The human rights organizations include all civil society organizations in Russia that, according to their statutes and as a matter of priority, campaign for the compliance with or enforcement of human rights. These can be organizations that campaign for human rights in general or focus on certain civil rights, such as freedom of speech, in particular. A catalogue of the complete holdings of documents relating to Russian human rights organizations can be downloaded here. The collection contains the self-published materials issued by Russian human rights organizations only. More specifically, only the materials issued by renowned organizations enjoying supra-regional significance are being collected.”
  • Benjamin Nathans, at the University of Pennsylvania, has compiled a database of published memoirs by Soviet dissidents.
  • ClosedSociety.org‘s database of NGOs being subjected to state pressure is not directly about protest, but may be a useful source of comparative data, especially since sources are indicated in the table.
  • A research group on Early Modern Revolts as Communicative Acts at the University of Konstanz, directed by Malte Griesse, created an image database of prints, drawings, paintings, and photos documenting protest events in Europe from around 1400 to the early 20th century. Approximately 5 percent of the images are related to Russia. The database is maintained in Konstanz with the help of the Cultures of Revolts and Revolutions group at the Center for Quantitative Historical Studies, University of Caen.
  • For the sake of completeness, I should also mention The Macro Data Guide‘s list of data sets for the Russian Federation, although it mostly includes international comparative data that has relatively little direct bearing on protest in Russia.

This list is still growing, and will soon be updated with information about survey data, police data, strike statistics, more protest event data sets for the 2000s, and a number of data sources for the 1990s and the Soviet and late imperial periods. Comments and suggestions are welcome (contact details).

For comparative purposes, Lesley J. Wood‘s list of data sources on social movements might be useful. Closer to home, the incredibly detailed Ukrainian Protest and Coercion Data project (an adaptation of the European Protest and Coercion Data project) is extremely relevant, as is the Ukrainian Protest Project, which collects data through surveys and focus groups.

The recently launched DiscussData project at Bremen University’s Center for East European Research uses PEPS and several other datasets on post-Soviet protest as one of two case studies in its attempt to build an interactive platform that proposes peer review and quality discussion mechanisms for research data.

 

Finally, here are some journalistic representations of protest events that purport to be systematic or representative in some way or other, and which may be useful to researchers in terms of studying media representations of protest in Russia, including bias and omissions:

  • Radio Svoboda’s series “How Russia Awoke,” with chronicles for 2011 (Dec 4, 5, 6, 10, 10-24)