Political telegram-channels play an important role in maintaining political decision making and shaping the public agenda in modern Russia. Both features of the messenger itself (convenience, a low barrier to entry, a short “shoulder” of communication) and the specifics of the political system of modern Russia together with the predominance of non-public policy have prompted political elites to use indirect communication and anonymous instruments of political struggle. Furthermore, political telegram-channels are in demand as an instrument of expert communication and reflection about the current political situation. The purpose of the research is to analyse the features of political and expert communication in telegram-channels in Russia. It is concluded that, despite the objective predominance of manipulative content, telegram-channels form a special expert ecosystem, a kind of “distributed think tank” which analyses Russian internal political and international agenda in real time. Experts and analytical centres use telegram-channels to communicate their position both to decision makers and the general public. The main problem with the use of telegram-channels as an expert network and “distributed think tank” is to distinguish between manipulative and expert components. A widespread phenomenon of “formative analytics” (manipulative content which pretends to be an expertise) take place in telegram-channels. To solve this problem, we offer analytical tools that require high professional skills in working with information from a researcher, as well as the use of the professional reputation of the sources within the real expert community.
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