Online Talk on March 14: Digital Authoritarianism and IT Business in Russia

The Online Talk for March sees Olga Solovyeva discuss the linkages between digital authoritarianism and IT business with the case of Yandex.

Online Talks on Russian Media, the collaborative project between TaRC and the Russian Media Lab (University of Helsinki) is back with another interesting edition!

The next presentation on Tuesday 14 March features Olga Solovyeva’s (Open University Business School, UK) study Digital authoritarianism and IT business in Russia: the case of Yandex.

Yandex is a multinational IT company with its HQ in Russia, providing an ecosystem of over 70 online services, which include the search engine, advertising and cloud solutions, e-commerce and ridetech business.

Sometimes referred to as a ‘Russian Google’, the company was founded by young IT enthusiasts in the late 1990s. Today Yandex employs thousands of people across the CIS countries, Europe and the Americas.

Over the years, the company has been balancing its way of continuously delivering services in a tightening authoritarian climate. Yet, complying with regulation has placed the organisation in a position where following the law is implicitly crossing the line of ethical responsibilities, including executing the human right of the citizens to access information.

In this presentation, Olga will explore the dynamics of the company-state relationship in the context of establishing control over the IT sector by the authoritarian state, or, in other words, the context of digital authoritarianism where the state sees the opportunities of using digital technology to maintain control and legitimacy.

Speaker bio:

Olga Solovyeva is a 4th year PhD student at the Open University Business School (UK). Her background is in political science and communication, and her primary areas of expertise include communication, technology and society.

Previously, she has taught courses on research design, strategic communication and media theory at the Higher School of Economics. She has written about the effects of emerging technologies on society, covering online dating, online learning, social media and disinformation.

This Online Talk will be held on Zoom on Tuesday 14 March, 12:00 to 13:30 (Helsinki time, GMT+2). The discussion will be moderated by Dr Katja Lehtisaari (Tampere University).

If you want to participate and get emails about the next Online Talks, please leave your contact information here by noon on Monday 13 March. If you have registered for Online Talks or the RMLN email list before, no need to register again! You will get the information.