Most of all social networks, Russian regional bosses fell in love with Instagram. Here, the "leading figures" of the media front, like, for example, the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, with 2.3 million subscribers before he was banned, have a million-strong fan base. The Center for Current Politics repeated a study from a year ago and identified how governors have progressed towards reaching audiences. It turned out that the number of subscribers alone is not enough. Likes and comments on Instagram have become the governor's currency. It is according to them that the federal government determines what its governors are good for. For every criterion - followers, likes, comments, engagement, hashtags, functionality - the governors get points.
If the regional boss has less than 10,000 subscribers, he gets a fat zero. Accounts from half a million subscribers and above are valued. Compared to March 2020, the audience of governor accounts has grown by almost a quarter, despite the fact that Kadyrov's account with more than 2 million subscribers was blocked due to the sanctions imposed against him back in 2017 under the Magnitsky law. The US authorities explained the introduction of sanctions by the fact that they consider him responsible for "killings, torture and other large-scale violations of human rights". Facebook and its Instagram as an American company were obliged to comply with the government's order, which happened three years later.
If a year ago almost 7.9 million citizens followed the governors, then in 2021 the number of subscribers increased to almost 9.5 million. Together, they do not reach Olga Buzova with 16.5 million or Khabib Nurmagomedov with 18 million, but they do not live on income from social networks, and there are some stars among the governors. There are fewer “otkazniks” from Instagram: if a year ago 14 heads of regions did not maintain accounts, this year there are 9 of them left, together with Kadyrov. Among them are the mayor of St. Petersburg Alexander Beglov, the head of the Tula region Alexei Dyumin, the new head of North Ossetia Menyailo. Either the governors, like Menyailo, have not yet managed to create accounts, or they, like Beglov and Dyumin, do not need them at all, because their activities are measured by a different parameter, but the number of those who ignore connections with the masses is falling, and this is encouraging.
The activity of the governors practically did not change over the year, although the individual indicators of some of them increased - the regionals simply picked up the banner of Kadyrov, whose activity before the blockade was legendary. The largest increase in subscribers - by 300 thousand people - the researchers registered with the head of the Stavropol Territory Vladimir Vladimirov, followed by the governor of the Nizhny Novgorod region with an additional 219 thousand followers and the mayor of Moscow Sobyanin with 200 thousand Muscovites.
Most of all, the head of the region is followed by subscribers in Tatarstan. Rustam Minnikhanov took first place. He is followed by the Moscow mayor Sobyanin, the third in the list of the governor of the Kursk region, Roman Starovoit. The governors of the Jewish Autonomous Region, the Republic of Komi and the Murmansk Region are lagging behind in subscribers.
Likes and comments
According to the users of the social network, the head of Tatarstan was only in third place. He was overtaken by the governor of the Nizhny Novgorod region Gleb Nikitin and the head of the Chelyabinsk region Alexei Teksler. Sergey Sobyanin received likes only in 6th place.
The governor of the Khabarovsk Territory Mikhail Degtyarev has come a long way in terms of the number of likes. The arrested Governor Furgal's replacement had a rough start. Now, at least on Instagram, he is straightening out his positions: Degtyarev was in the first third of the rating. The fewest likes among users were found for the head of the Nenets Autonomous Okrug Yuri Bezdudny, the head of the Republic of Mari El Evstifeyev and the governor of the Kirov region, Igor Vasiliev.
Governors, who were in the middle and at the end of the ranking, nevertheless, actively increased their attractiveness to users. The head of Karelia Parfenchikov was able to increase the number of likes by 238 %, and the controversial governor of the Sverdlovsk region Kuvaishev - by 175% . Likes of the leader of the list of the Governor of Nizhny Novgorod Nikitin also grew by 144%. Governor of the Moscow region Vorobiev, head of Kabardino-Balkaria Kokov, governor of the Vologda region Kuvshinnikov lost 40% to 50% of the cherished emoji.
The most active users of the governor's Instagram live in Nizhny Novgorod - Governor Nikitin not only collected the most likes, but also outstripped his colleagues in comments. The next governors of the Penza and Chelyabinsk regions received three times less of them. The head of the Republic of Khakassia, communist Valentin Konovalov was in the last third of the rating both by likes and comments. Least of all there is something to say to their bosses in the Republic of Karelia, the Kirov region and in the Nenets Autonomous Okrug.
In the Rostov region, Governor Golubev was able to increase the number of comments by a fabulous 737% , followed by Gleb Nikitin from Nizhny Novgorod received an assessment of fellow countrymen by 638% more than last year. 27 out of 60 governors collected two to eight and a half times more comments than the previous one.
The researchers concluded that the renewal of regional government increases its openness. It was among the newcomers that both quantitative and qualitative indicators grew. The new governors are not afraid of direct contacts with the population under their jurisdiction and interact with citizens directly through social networks. The federal government is no longer looking at the number of subscribers, but at whether the governors can find a response from the residents of their regions.
On Instagram alone, governors, who have tasted the growth of KPI and their position in the federal table of ranks, will not want to stop. It is not clear how they will use other social networks, especially Western ones. Against the background of the next crusade of Roskomnadzor against Twitter and its comrades, the number of communication channels for communication with the population will clearly not grow.
The researchers hope that the governors will not stop at accounts and will move to a more interactive way of communicating with the voters - live broadcasts and interact with the audience. But this future looks very vague. Which governor will dare to speak in an open discussion? Verified photos and videos is one thing, live conversation is another. Here, not only citizens may ask the wrong thing, but will the Moscow authorities closely monitor what the regionals are saying on the ground? Will the governors be willing to take risks or leave everything as it is out of harm's way? This is a big question.