Markers of Manipulation in the Electoral Communication in a Digital Environment

Liudmila V. Balakhonskaya, Dmitrii P. Gavra, Iuliia V. Beresneva, Kulzat K. Sadirova

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionResearchpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Electoral communications in a digital environment are characterized by a low level of external control, the presence of multimedia opportunities for creating campaign messages, and the viral distribution of information about the candidate and his political program. The digital environment has powerful mobilization potential. This makes it possible to widely use the network opportunities for involving young people in the electoral process. At the same time, qualitatively new conditions are being formed for the implementation of pre-election communication, which is becoming more open, transparent, interactive. Any network user can ask a question, become a member of political discussions, leave comments, express his opinion on the candidate's personal page or on any connected Internet site. Taking into account the opinions of potential voters allows you to adjust the campaign process, make changes and clarifications in the election materials to achieve optimal voting results.In a digital environment, there are more opportunities to control and manipulate the consciousness of the electorate compared to traditional media. The purpose of manipulation is to covertly influence public consciousness, to change the social and behavioral attitudes of potential voters in a direction that is beneficial to the manipulator. Communicative strategy of manipulation is actively used to achieve optimal voting results in election campaigns. The purpose of the manipulation strategy is to covertly influence the public consciousness, to change the social and behavioral attitudes of the electorate in a direction favorable for the manipulator. Manipulation is often accomplished through myth-making. Political myths are capable of introducing into the public consciousness illusory models of the reality. In mythologized political communication knowledge of the world and an understanding of the facts of real life are replaced by images, symbols, fictions and legends. During the elections manipulation is already manifested in the myth that a politician chooses for himself. This is due to the ideological precepts of the leader and his personal characteristics. Representation of a myth is carried out using certain linguistic means and stylistic techniques that perform a manipulative function.The purpose of the study is to determine the manipulative potential of myth-making as a tool for constructing a positive image of a politician during elections, as well as to identify specific signals in the election communication of a politician, which are called 'manipulation markers'.One of the objectives of the study was to identify ways of representing the main strategies for manipulating electoral communications through myth-making. The strategies for reduction, strategies for increasing and strategies for theatricalization [1, p. 53-54] are analyzed. The study showed that the reduction strategy is represented primarily with the help of the myth of the enemy (about a conspiracy), the increasing strategy with the myth of the hero-savior, and the theatricalization strategy with the myths of the social ideal and of identity (unity).The empirical basis of the study was 142 videos of three candidates for the post of President of the Russian Federation (Pavel Grudinin, Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Ksenia Sobchak) containing elements of mythology. These videos were posted on YouTube video hosting during the 2018 presidential election campaign.The methods used are discourse analysis, content analysis, linguo-ideological and linguo-stylistic analysis of media text. The authors identified lexical, grammatical and stylistic markers of manipulation. These markers can be used by IT specialists in the development of computer software to determine the level of manipulativeness of the pre-election media text. The pilot project of such a software was recently developed by the team of the Laboratory of Applied Linguistics and Cognitive Research of the Siberian Federal University [2]. The authors show that the selection of manipulation markers depends on many factors, which include not only the type of discourse and the scope of the text, but also the subject of the text, the language in which communication is carried out, as well as extralinguistic factors that take into account the type of author, type of addressee, situation, time, place, etc.

Translated title of the contributionМаркеры манипулирования в электоральной коммуникации в цифровой среде
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2020 IEEE Communication Strategies in Digital Society Seminar, ComSDS 2020
EditorsS. Shaposhnikov, L. Sharakhina
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781728164410
ISBN (Print)9781728164410
StatePublished - 2 Apr 2020
Event2020 IEEE Communication Strategies in Digital Society Seminar (ComSDS) - Saint Petersburg Electrotechnical University “LETI”, 197376, Popov str. 5, Санкт-Петербург, Russian Federation
Duration: 8 Apr 20208 Apr 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 2020 IEEE Communication Strategies in Digital Society Seminar, ComSDS 2020


Seminar2020 IEEE Communication Strategies in Digital Society Seminar (ComSDS)
Abbreviated titleComSDS
CountryRussian Federation

Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Communication
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • digital environment
  • digital politics
  • electoral communication
  • manipulation markers
  • manipulation strategy

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