Digital authoritarianism threatens the privacy and rights of Internet users worldwide, yet scholarship on this topic remains limited in analytical power and case selection. In this article, we introduce a comprehensive analytical framework to the field of Internet governance and apply it first, briefly, to the well-known case of China and then, in more depth, to the still-understudied Russian case. We identify the extent and relative centralization of Internet governance as well as proactive versus reactive approaches to governance as notable differences between the cases, highlighting variation among digital authoritarians’ governance strategies. We conclude that Russia’s Internet governance model is less comprehensive and consistent than China’s, but its components may be more easily exported to other political systems. We then consider whether recent changes to Russia’s Internet governance suggest that it could converge with the Chinese model over time.

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