Abstract: This article explores aspects, transformations, and dynamics of the ideological control of the internet in Russia. It analyses the strategies of actors across the Russian online space which contribute to this state-driven ideological control. The tightening of legislative regulation over the last 10 years to control social media and digital self-expression in Russia is relatively well studied. However, there is a lack of research on how the control of the internet works at a structural level. Namely, how it isolates “echo chambers” of oppositional discourses while also creating a massive flood of pro-state information and opinions. This article argues that the strategy of the Russian state to control the internet over the last 10 years has changed considerably. From creating troll factories and bots to distort communication in social media, the state is progressively moving towards a strategy of creating a huge state-oriented information flood to “litter” online space. Such a strategy relies on the generation of news resources which attract large volumes of traffic, which leads to such “trash information” dominating the internet.
Keywords: alternative media; ideological control; digital self-expression; power; RuNet; Russian media; social media