“Online civic activism in politically restricted space: a case study on Turkmenistan”, Rustam Muhamedov (IEP, Germany)

In 2020, Turkmen citizens abroad staged a record number of peaceful demonstrations demanding socio-economic and political reforms. This study analyzes the online dimension of this surge in protest activism, specifically the use of social media for dynamizing offline protests and disrupting hegemonic narratives of the ruling regime online. The study identified that social media played a crucial role in shaping initial motivations for protest actions, improving its “visibility”, mobilizing and coordinating actions, contributing to mutual assistance and support, and raising the interest of Turkmen citizens, both abroad and at home, in politics-focused content. The research also identified a set of structural and conditional factors that constrain the opposition movement’s outreach to the domestic audience, and as a consequence, limit its possibilities for articulating, mobilizing, and networking anti-government protests at home.

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