Activatica is an online platform covering grassroots activism across Russia. It unites journalists, activists, and political prisoners and provides support to grassroots initiatives. In 2007 a group of activists organized a grassroots movement to stop the construction of a highway through Khimki Forest, a green space northwest of Moscow. Realizing how much the public attention to relevant news and social media helped them achieve their goals, and recognizing how dependent they were on mainstream media when the federal media chose to ignore their activities, they decided to create a platform for grassroots activists to tell about ongoing protests, gain public attention to their initiatives and network with each other. Activatica has grown into a large team of volunteers and journalists across Russia and abroad. Since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the portal has taken on newfound urgency as activists in and outside of Russia struggle to find ways to protest the war in Ukraine, assist Ukrainian refugees, and keep alive campaigns they may have previously been working on. After the Russian telecom agency criminalized reporting on the war, the Activatica portal was blocked. Users now need to apply tech solutions to access the information.
Theory of Change
In the circumstances of authoritarian regime and absence of rule of law, providing an accessible and independent resource for public attention to ongoing issues can help protect activists and influence local authorities’ decisions.
The website allows activists to report issues that require redress, to find and plan possible actions, and to post their own content. Any user can register on the Activatica portal and post their story. In order to ensure verified, up-to-date, and sound content, a team of editors copy-edits, fact-checks, and moderates the posts. Activatica’s team also provides trainings on how to organize events and write stories that attract public attention. The portal has an interactive map with geolocated issues, protests, news items, and discussions.
At least 48 of the issues covered by Activatica have been resolved with the help of public attention. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine started, the website has been getting 25-30 million views a month, three times what they were seeing before the war.