In This Review

Beyond the Protest Square: Digital Media and Augmented Dissent
Beyond the Protest Square: Digital Media and Augmented Dissent
By Tetyana Lokot
Rowman & Littlefield, 2021, 160 pp

Based on her research on the 2013–14 Euromaidan protests in Ukraine and the mass rallies against corruption that took place in 2017 in Russia, Lokot writes about the opportunities and limitations of digital technologies for protest movements and emphasizes the close entanglement of offline and online spaces. The book draws on state-of-the-art literature on the social role of digital technology and is academic in style but still a lively read, thanks to the numerous quotes from interviews that Lokot conducted with protesters. Digital communications were central in coordinating logistics at the protests in Kyiv, such as providing information on the availability of basic necessities, from toilets to WiFi to firewood. Live-streaming, tweeting, and blogging turned witnessing the protests into a form of participation. Countless videos recording the activities in the protest camp (cooking, singing, delivering lectures) created a public history of the uprising. Unlike in Ukraine, where the Internet is generally free, in Russia, the government has developed sophisticated technological means aimed at controlling the digital public sphere. It continues to adopt and enforce draconian regulations against activism, drawing no distinction between online and offline activities.