How to Manage Public Condemnation: Political Scandals in Russia

Galina Lukyanova, Arkadii Solovev


The transformation of political communication entails a change in the criteria for evaluating the behavior of political actors, including the violations they commit. This article aims to identify the strategies through which stakeholders influence a scandal, intending to mitigate negative consequences and achieve their own strategic goals. Based on the identified institutional and personal impact on the sequence of scandalous events, we analyze corruption, sex, and power scandals in Russia using the process-tracing method. Besides shifting the agenda through the creation of media leads, the dissemination of protest symbols has proved to be fruitful. The results of the analysis also reveal the advantages of the denial strategy in the Russian context, despite the dominant belief that it is inefficient. Aside from scandal management strategies, we single out contextual factors common to all types of scandals: solidarity, social significance of the offense, and a focus on stereotypes.


political scandal, mediated scandal, Russia, scandal management, media effects, process tracing, strategy

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