Russia’s Protest Landscape in Maps

Text: Jan Matti Dollbaum; Jakob Reuster (profiles)Photo Editing: Anna ArtemevaTranslation: Alison BorrowmanData visualisation: Daniel Marcus03.06.2019

From Kaliningrad to Vladivostok, from corruption to deforestation: three maps give an idea of where people have protested in Russia, and what they were protesting for or against.

In early March 2017, opposition politician Alexei Navalny published a Youtube video accusing Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of corruption. As a result, thousands, mainly young people, protested against corruption in politics throughout Russia on 26 March and 12 June 2017. Though the protests were part of Navalny’s presidential campaign , Navalny supporters were not the only ones to take to the streets, other disaffected citizens turned out as well. For the regions in particular, 26 March and 12 June were important dates, as the protests in many places there were the biggest since 2011/12.

Anti-corruption protests of 2017
not approved69
approved at a different location13
"Hyde Park"*6

* Hyde Park? 
Sources: OWD-Info, Meduza

The data for this map come from the Russian legal protection organization OVD-Info and the online medium Meduza. Participant numbers cited are  based on reports from local newspapers, police estimates and information from the organisers. Since the estimates provided by different sources often differ, we provide the highest and the lowest estimate for each protest action.

This map assembles selected protest actions of the past years, most of which drew attention from beyond their region. It is important to note that this is not a representative cross-section – the figures for the individual categories do not give any indication of the overall frequency of such protests. Rather, the point here is to show the thematic breadth of protest in Russia. In the coming months, this map will continue to grow…

Profiles of selected protests

Source: dekoder

The data on which this map is based come from Tomila Lankina (London School of Economics) and colleagues. The dataset is based on entries on the website, which is run by activists. The data are freely available online and have been used in several scientific publications .

A number of things must be taken into account when using these data. First of all, the dataset represents the entire content of – but there is no way of knowing how representative this website is of the actual protest landscape . One can assume that not all protests are reported to and it seems likely that the extent to which protests are reported to the website varies both regionally and from one topic to the next: thus the overall picture presented may be a distorted one. For example, since the website is run by political activists, political protests may be over-represented. Secondly, assigning a protest action to one of six subject areas  involves, of course, a great degree of simplification. If you need more context, you can click on the button “Table” in each pop-up for the individual regions, and the section of the dataset, including the original URLs for the articles, will be displayed.

Overview: Protest between 2007 and 2016
March 2007
March 2007
March 2007
December 2016
Standardised protest frequency
Protest per million inhabitants in the time period

* Protests per million inhabitants (calc.) in the selected time period.
Source: Lankina, Tomila V. (2018), Lankina Russian protest event dataset