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Töpfl, Florian (January 2012): Blogging for the Sake of the President. The Online-Diaries of Russian Governors. [PDF, 1MB]

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Many western researchers have hailed blogs of politicians as new, interactive, and ‘inherently democratic’ tools of political communication. Yet, as this chapter illustrates, blogs can be of comparatively even greater appeal to politicians in semi-authoritarian political contexts: In Russia, 29 out of 83 regional leaders (roughly 35 %) were keeping a weblog in May 2010. This chapter accomplishes a comprehensive content analysis of all governors’ blogs and, subsequently, fleshes out a typology of three characteristic types. In conclusion, it is argued that politicians’ blogs are playing a far greater role in generating legitimacy for the Russian political system than they do in democracies, because the semi-authoritarian Russian system lacks other mechanisms which generate (input) legitimacy in developed democracies, such as highly competitive elections.

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