Anger, identity or efficacy belief? Dynamics of motivation and participation in 2020 Belarusian protests

Anger, identity or efficacy belief? Dynamics of motivation and participation in 2020 Belarusian protests

Article received: 2022.08.26. Accepted: 2023.01.11

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2023.02.10

For citation:

Akhremenko A.S., Petrov A.P. Anger, identity or efficacy belief? Dynamics of motivation and participation in 2020 Belarusian protests. – Polis. Political Studies. 2023. No. 2. P. 138-153. (In Russ.). EDN: WFAEBT

This research is supported by the Russian Science Foundation under grant no. 20-18-00274, HSE University.


In this paper, we present our estimates of the motivational and participative dynamics in the protest against the announced results of the presidential elections in the Republic of Belarus in 2020. The campaign is analyzed throughout the whole period of its active development: from August to December. Based on contemporary achievements in the social psychology of protest movements, we have developed an original method for analyzing messages in social media. It involves linking the most popular (mostly reposted) posts to three key motives (antecedents) of protest participation: anger, identification with the protest movement, and belief in its efficacy. This was done by means of a formalized coding procedure, which involved 12 encoders working independently. The resulting time series, reflecting the salience of the motives in question, were compared with the timeline of street protest activity. To measure the latter, we also offer a novel method for calculating the turnout index, or T-index. The time unit for both motivation and street protests was one week; a total of 18 weeks were analyzed. The key takeaway of the study is that the dynamics of efficacy belief is the most closely related to the dynamics of street activity. For both processes, there is a significant increase in the very first weeks of the protest campaign, followed by a gradual weakening. The antecedent “anger” remains generally at a constant level, while the antecedent “protest identity” has a rather positive or n-shaped dynamics.

protest campaign, political protest, socio-psychological motivation of the protest, social media analysis, Belarus, antecedents, online protest.


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