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Aliaksandr Herasimenka

Research Associate
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I am a doctoral researcher at School of Media & Communication, University of Westminster. My work lies at the interface of communication, political science and technology focusing on the changes that social media platforms bring. As a lecturer, researcher and journalist, I have spent 13 years exploring the role of digital media in civil society and have dedicated my career to helping others use digital media to change lives. As a lecturer and a researcher, I specialise in the following areas: digital media, digital methods, digital politics, political communication, political activism and social movements, social media and society, data scraping, data processing and visualisation, computational misinformation and propaganda.

Doctoral Project

Digital political activism in authoritarian settings: Organisation, leadership and information distribution in Belarus and Russia

What is important about my project?
Democracy does not disappear in a day. However, it can erode slowly fading from sight like a dissolving sandcastle. This what has happened to democracy in Russia and Belarus over the past twenty years. In the age of fake news, political polarisation and Donald Trump, other countries that we call democracies are at risk of repeating this fate. How can active citizens resist the erosion of democracy?

What do I study?
My answer comes from the case studies of Russia and Belarus, where censorship, governmental propaganda and networks of bots have been part of everyday life for many years. I study how political activists in these two countries fight for democratic freedoms using social media.

How do I study it?
I travelled across Russia and Belarus to meet activists, to talk to them and to see their work and life. I also collected and analysed the textual and visual materials created by them. I did this to understand how activists overcome obstacles imposed by the state and large media corporations: how they disseminate information, unite their followers and organise protests. I focus on such cases as the Anti-corruption campaign of Alexei Navalny in Russia and the campaign to abolish the tax on unemployment in Belarus.

Articles by Aliaksandr Herasimenka