“I Felt Frightened and Then I Started Singing”: Songs at Russian Protest Actions
This article explores the role of songs in Russian protests. Data are drawn from ethnographic observations made at protests held between 2015 and 2022, mostly in Moscow and St. Petersburg, as part of the project, “Monitoring Contemporary Folklore,” based at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. The authors consider materials from 240 protests. Viewing protests as an act of communication, the article analyzes the circumstances for song performances and suggests a hypothesis for songs’ communicative goals. The article additionally demonstrates how song choice changes from common 1980’s protest songs to new tracks that gained later popularity. The article demonstrates how song production depends on the types of protests and the levels of participant engagement.
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