This article focuses on mobilisation via Twitter ahead of the ‘Peace March’ on 21 September 2014, a national mass demonstration against the Russian regime’s policy towards Ukraine. Through a qualitative review of the most salient tweets mentioning the official hashtag #MarshMira, the article identifies the most conspicuous frames and classifies their functions. Contrary to the stated goal of the Peace March – to unify the people (or at least mend the divide between liberal, urban activists and ‘the people’) – the most pronounced frames propagated on Twitter served to widen this divide. Rather than pitching ‘the people’ against the regime, these frames juxtaposed the liberals and their values and emotions with the ‘uneducated’ masses and their values and emotions. Instead of working towards their stated objective of unification, opposition activists communicating on Twitter reproduced their own, caricatured, largely prejudiced image of ‘the people’ and thereby put a spoke in their own wheels. However, the analysis also suggests that the interactive and multi-venue character of such demonstrations gives activists the opportunity – provided that the frames are adjusted – to narrow the divide and potentially increase mobilisation.
Language of contribution: English