Our Aim Is To Stop Existing. Strategies and Evolution of Environmental Social Movements in Contemporary Russia

Sat9  Apr11:20am(10 mins)
Umney Theatre
Ms Maria Chiara Franceschelli


Maria Chiara Franceschelli2; Galina Selivanova1
1 FIW, University of Bonn, Germany;  2 Scuola Normale Superiore (Florence), Italy


Russian environmental activism responds to the global agenda, while having to address pressing local issues. Russian movements are stretched between oppression and intimidation on behalf of the state, and the state’s incentives for the creation of a docile and co-opted civil society. The present study investigates social movement strategies in non-democratic contexts. Our work is grounded in the growing research field that re-evaluates civil society in post-communist region and adopts analytical categories that were specifically designed for this region. Looking at civil society through the analytical prism of transactional and participatory modes of activism, the paper investigates the strategies of the environmental movement Razdel’niy Sbor.

The study shows how Razdel’ny Sbor changed the local political context and updated its strategies accordingly. Analysing the shift in modes and strategies of mobilisation, the study proposes a dynamic approach to the study of social movements and concludes that non-democratic political context is not monolithic, but a constantly changing environment that is partly shaped by the activity of civil society actors.

The study also presents a preliminary observation of the behaviour of non-contentious social movements during the ongoing war in Ukraine, and proposes some preliminary conclusions about their role in forming an opposition front.

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