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Social Psychology and Society

Publisher: Moscow State University of Psychology and Education

ISSN (printed version): 2221-1527

ISSN (online): 2311-7052


License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published since 2010

Published quarterly

Free of fees
Open Access Journal


Who Is to Blame and What Is to Be Done: Analysis of Comments to Films about the Beslan School Siege 57


Smirnov N.M.
Research Intern, Politics & Psychology Research Laboratory, National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE University), Moscow, Russia

Objective. Analysis of YouTube comments to documentaries about the fifteenth anniversary of the Beslan school siege. Background. Amid reactivation of the Beslan discourse, demand for social reflection of the tragedy is increasing. It seems relevant to address nonreactive data to evaluate framing perception. Study design. Using random forest modeling we examine the content of YouTube comments to evaluate their specific characteristics. Data. Array of comments to Yuri Dud, Ksenia Sobchak and Novaya Gazeta films about Beslan (N=141,966, upload date: 02/29/2020, parsing loss<1% of the total). Measurements. Random forest modeling for textual data. Results. In the comments to all three films, blame is mainly reattributed to the state. The moral performatives are different: in the comments to Y. Dud and K. Sobchak’s films there are appeals for helping victims of the terrorist attack; in the case of Novaya Gazeta — to the punishment of the guilty. Conclusions. The Beslan tragedy turns out to be a serious point of social dissociation, there is neither rallying around the state nor a consensus on how to heal the trauma.

Keywords: Beslan siege, random forest, collective trauma, framing perception

Column: Empirical Research


Acknowledgements. The author is grateful to Rodionova M.M. and Skvortsov I.A. for their assistance in the data collection and coding.

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