1. To make sense of the tangled (from the perspective of Telegram users and possibly from more comprehensive) infrastructures of connectivity of channels, groups, movements, and congresses that advocate or develop the ideas of disintegration, decolonization, regional, national autonomies, ethnic, territorial separatism and federalization of the Russian Federation.

 We emphasize that the ideas above may not always be connected:

The information and discursive fields, the language of speaking about decolonization that is emerging before our eyes, and different rhetorical strategies, in our opinion, are essential for analysis, as they set the vectors of politicization of ethnic and cultural heterogeneity in russia. How ethnic, national, and cultural differences between the country’s peoples, between Russian and non-Russian peoples, are described and understood shapes and predetermines — the emergence of new political subjects and communities. The hypothesis of the study was the assumption that in the conditions of a full-scale war in Ukraine unleashed by Russia, ideologically based on the colonial history of the country, any ethnic, national liberation, anti- and decolonial movement will inevitably be placed in a maximally politicized field. 

Actors of this field mutually define each other: extreme positions form an amplitude of views, within which positions are constantly refined and reconfigured through mutual clarifications and procedures of distinction, convergence, and disengagement. Our work represents the first steps towards an attempt to describe these processes and distinctions.  

Being involved in decolonial discourse (but not part of any of the diasporas), we felt it was important to capture some of the contradictions in the ideas and tactics of the visible groups and to make a rough navigation of the fields of meaning. Also, this is a rough guide for the extended user groups where to look for information and allies.

2. Develop and make available a methodology for analyzing telegram channel networks. 

Technology, as well as access to it, is neither uniform nor neutral. Most existing technical solutions strengthen the state’s institutions and help construct control societies. They serve the interests of power structures, invasions into users’ private spaces, collecting data everywhere, and just serving the military industry. At best, technologies are subjected to capitalist logics to expand the platform economy, instead of improving the quality of life and instead of serving the public interest and ideas.  

The large amount of data, networks, channels, and cross-references create digital noise and a sense of confusion in the face of the abstraction of the information barrage. We considered this work a navigation technology and a proposed set of intermediate and incomplete filters.   

Also, we felt it was important to share the research tools with those groups who (considering the repressive environment within the rf) might be or have been researched in the same ways. Which we think helps us see and analyze our threat models. 

We make these algorithms transparent. But we are not the first to use them.

Who did the research: 

There are four people in the working group of this project, all with Russian citizenship, three afab persons, and an amab person. It’s hard to resist the pun and not report that all of them have acab views and share the principles of anarchism, anarcho-feminism, and grassroots principles of organizing cooperative work. Two of us have mixed ethnic identities (Russian-Uzbek, Russian-Evenki), and two are ethnically Russian.

The way the research was done. Answers to questions about threat models: 

In the study, we proceeded from a place of our interest and concern for the topics and issues of difference that were raised.

It is important to note that apart from the published interview excerpts, we did NOT USE internal information from the groups mentioned. The text and methodology are written based on analyzing data found in public sources. We relied on the study of connectivity and search algorithms with the help of posted tools, on the observation of group dynamics in the telegram network, and on publications and material events in open access and real-time. Our parser is based on the open OSINT tool from Bellingcat (https://github.com/bellingcat/snscrape), and we can analyze only that part of the network, which is available without a Telegram account. That is for viewing from a browser without login. Unfortunately, we know that the government has much more powerful resources and tools to analyze Telegram and other means of communication. For example, there is an available report from VGTU (https://drive.google.com/file/d/12Pzt6jx_eC7DozyohYsM5DHFp-zx-B1q/view) — Such tasks require much more work and not the most legal methods, such as SIM card farming. It is also known that at the request of the FSB, mobile operators intercept SMS with the code to log in to the account. There are methods for de-anonymization by phone numbers tied to accounts or ways to verify participation in certain groups. All of them require large resources, such as a SIM card farm and many performers at once. Such resources are not available to us.

The fear that we can help the public services with our research is futile, but unfortunately, only because the public services are far ahead of us. As a way of protection, we can suggest strict validation of movement members and closing all public profiles.


Interviews for this project were collected and processed separately, without sharing internal information to apply to the analysis.

Respondent_women we selected from the notional group «Decolonial Perspectives.” Read more HERE .

After the first publication of the text, we received edits and comments about the security issues of the initiatives. We tried to answer these questions in the description above — for what purposes we do it and out of what convictions.

We had to cut some data at the request of the initiatives mentioned. 

Also, based on clarifying comments from participants of Decolonial Perspectives, we made edits to the description and conditional categorization of the initiatives that were united in the study by a common name. The first description did not distinguish between cultural, educational, human rights, activist, and political groups with clear goals and manifestos.

For whom this study is for:

By publishing it in the public domain, we expect it to be helpful for researchers and groups that share ideas of decolonization, as well as national and indigenous rights movements.

We also hope that this tentative classification can work as a navigation for those interested in (or sharing) ideas about rf reorganization.