Ask a Russian: Codex

Ethical Codex and Methodology

This project does not intend to bring picture of the whole Russia. It rather captures the reality of the democratic part of the society who oposes the war.

Ask a Russian is a project dedicated to building a dialogue between the international community and the part of Russian society that is ready to communicate with the outside world. Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, many people around the world have questions about the realities of the Russian regime, about the role of Russian society in the war and about many other things (such as “Is it true that most people in Russia support war?” or “Why are there no mass protests in Russia?”). We take those questions and ask them to actual Russian people, and then publish the answers so that people who ask those questions can see the responses.

After the questions are selected, we translate them to Russian and use them to conduct a qualitative open-ended survey using Google Forms. The responses are collected on multiple social media channels. At the moment, most of our survey participants are members of liberal-leaning Telegram channels and Russian-speaking expat/immigrant social media, which means that our survey to a large extent represents the Russian reality through the points of view of people who oppose the war.

After the survey data are collected, the valid responses are translated to English and analysed using the mixture of qualitative content analysis and natural language processing approaches. From each response, we manually code the keywords that indicate its topic(s), then the keywords are combined into groups based on their semantic relatedness into separate topics. Then we use the natural language processing package QUANTEDA for R programming language to classify responses into topics, and based on the keyword-in-context approach we represent each topic visually as a wordcloud and compute the frequency of each topic.

The main results of the study are then published on the After Russia website, the After Russia Medium page, and the After Russia instagram page.


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Our stand on the Russian war with Ukraine

Russia started the war against Ukraine. This war is happening from 2014. It has only intensified on February 24th 2022. Milions of Ukrainians are suffering. The perpetrators of this must be brought to justice for their crimes.

Russian regime tries to silence its liberal voices. Russian people against the war exist - and the Russian regime tries its best to silence them. We want to prevent that and make their voices heard.

Connection is crucial. The Russian liberal initiatives are hard to read for European public at times. The legal, social and historical context of Russia is not always clear. We want to share information, build bridges and connect the liberal Russia with The West.

We believe in dialogue, not isolation. The oppositional powers in Russia will not be able to change anything without the support of the democratic world. We also believe that the dialogue should go both ways.

The choice is yours. We understand the anger for the Russian crimes. It is up to you whether you want to listen to the Russian people standing against this.