“Digital traces” as an indication of the population’s interest in the border regions of Russia for cross-border contacts

“Digital traces” as an indication of the population’s interest in the border regions of Russia for cross-border contacts

Mikhaylova A.A.,

Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, Kaliningrad, Russia, tikhonova.1989@mail.ru

elibrary_id: 905466 | ORCID: 0000-0002-6807-6074 | RESEARCHER_ID: P-6443-2015

Hvaley D.V.,

Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, Kaliningrad, Russia, hvaley_gusev@mail.ru

elibrary_id: 1066615 | ORCID: 00-0001-9701-9442 | RESEARCHER_ID: AAS-6256-2020

Mikhaylov A.S.,

Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia; Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, Kaliningrad, Russia, mikhailov.andrey@yahoo.com

elibrary_id: 711513 | ORCID: 0000-0002-5155-2628 | RESEARCHER_ID: 0B-8451-2015

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2022.03.12
Rubric: Russia Today

For citation:

Mikhaylova A.A., Hvaley D.V., Mikhaylov A.S. “Digital traces” as an indication of the population’s interest in the border regions of Russia for cross-border contacts. – Polis. Political Studies. 2022. No. 3. P. 157-175. (In Russ.). https://doi.org/10.17976/jpps/2022.03.12

The study is funded by the RSF project No. 21-77-00082 “Digital transformation of cross-border cooperation of Russian regions as a factor of national security”.


In the context of the neighborhood policy, border territories act as natural contact zones, the population of which is most interested in the development of cross-border relations and the strengthening of trusted relations. In some regions, this is linked to a common historical and cultural past, in others – to incentives of a socio-economic nature, for example, relatively lower prices for certain categories of goods and/or services, developed cultural and leisure infrastructure, and the possibility of economic profits. Moreover, each of the areas of cooperation (industrial, tourism, cultural, environmental, innovation, etc.) has its own set of indicators for assessing the intensity of cross-border contacts, which gives only a fragmentary idea of the general interest of the population of border regions in cross-border cooperation. The purpose of this study is to assess the general level of interest of the population of the border regions of Russia in cross-border contacts by using computational social science. The resource Yandex Wordstat was employed as an information base on the ‘digital traces’ of users. The data coverage period is 2020-2021. The results of the analysis of 308 unique user requests in the context of 42 border regions of Russia revealed some asymmetry in the degree of their integration into the information space of neighboring states. It revealed that in most cases users from the border regions of the Russian Federation are more active than the country average in looking for information about the border regions and cities of neighboring states. The geographic directions for which the most and least interest in cross-border cooperation arise among the population of the Russian borderlands are presented. 

digitalization, border region, borderland, neighborhood, cross-border cooperation, digital era, digital trace, computational social science.

Дополнительные материалы


Barrinha, A., & Renard, T. (2017). Cyber-diplomacy: the making of an international society in the digital age. Global Affairs, 3(4-5), 353-364. https://doi.org/10.1080/23340460.2017.1414924

Basboga, K. (2020). The role of open borders and cross-border cooperation in regional growth across Europe. Regional Studies, Regional Science, 7(1), 532-549. https://doi.org/10.1080/21681376.2020.1842800

Boschma, R.A. (2005). Proximity and innovation: A critical assessment. Regional Studies, 39(1), 61-74. https://doi.org/10.1080/0034340052000320887

Capello, R., Caragliu, A., & Fratesi, U. (2018). Breaking down the border: physical, institutional and cultural obstacles. Economic Geography, 94(5), 485-513, https://doi.org/10.1080/00130095.2018.1444988

Conte, R., Gilbert, N., Bonelli, G., Cioffi-Revilla, C., Deffuant, G., Kertesz, J., Loreto, V., Moat, S., Nadal, J.P., Sanchez, A., Nowak, A., Flache, A., San Miguel, M., & Helbing, D. (2012). Manifesto of computational social science. The European Physical Journal Special Topics, 214, 325-346. https://doi.org/10.1140/epjst/e2012-01697-8

David, M.J. (2020). Computational social science: obstacles and opportunities. Science, 369(6507), 1060-1062. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aaz8170

Eysenbach, G. (2020). How to fight an infodemic: the four pillars of infodemic management. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 22, 6. https://doi.org/10.2196/21820

Fischer, M., Scherngell, T., & Jansenberger, E. (2006). The geography of knowledge spillovers between high-technology firms in Europe: evidence from a spatial interaction modelling perspective. Geographical Analysis, 38, 288-309. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1538-4632.2006.00687.x

Gülzau, F. (2020). A paradigm shift in German family policy: applying a topic model to map reform and public discourse, 1990–2016. European Policy Analysis, 6(1), 100-118. https://doi.org/10.1002/epa2.1072

Haim, M., & Jungblut, M. (2021). Politicians’ self-depiction and their news portrayal: evidence from 28 countries using visual computational analysis. Political Communication, 38(1-2), 55-74. https://doi.org/10.1080/10584609.2020.1753869

Henry, J. (2021). The geopolitics of travel blogging. Geopolitics, 26(3), 817-837. https://doi.org/10.108 0/14650045.2019.1664473

Kaucic, J., & Sohn, C. (2021). Mapping the cross-border cooperation ‘galaxy’: an exploration of scalar arrange­ments in Europe. European Planning Studies. https://doi.org/10.1080/09654313.2021.1923667

Khmeleva, G.A. (2022). Platform approach – the future of cross-border cooperation in the digital era. In S.I. Ashmarina, & V.V. Mantulenko (Ed.), Digital Technologies in the New Socio-Economic Reality (pp. 189-196). Cham: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-83175-2_26

Koch, K. (2018). The spatiality of trust in EU external cross-border cooperation. European Planning Studies, 26(3), 591-610. https://doi.org/10.1080/09654313.2017.1393502

Kolosov, V., & Sebentsov, A. (2020). Russian borderlands: contemporary problems and challenges. Regional Science Policy & Practice, 12(4), 671-687. https://doi.org/10.1111/rsp3.12285

Kurowska-Pysz, J., & Szczepańska-Woszczyna, K. (2017). The analysis of the determinants of sustainable cross-border cooperation and recommendations on its harmonization. Sustainability (Switzerland), 9(12), 2226. https://doi.org/10.3390/su9122226

Lazer, D., Pentland, A., Adamic, L., Aral, S., Barabasi, A.L., Brewer, D., Christakis, N., Contractor, N., Fowler, J., Gutmann, M., Jebara, T., King, G., Macy, M., Roy, D., & Van Alstyne, M. (2009). Social science. Computational social science. Science, 323(5915), 721-723. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1167742

Lettieri, N. (2016). Computational social science, the evolution of policy design and rule making in smart societies. Future Internet, 8(2), 19. https://doi.org/10.3390/fi8020019

Liberini, F., Redoano, M., Russo, A., Cuevas, A., & Cuevas, R. (2020). Politics in the Facebook era – evidence from the 2016 US presidential elections. CESifo Working Paper, 8235. http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3584086 (accessed 11.12.2021).

Long, J.A., & Eveland, W.P. (2021). Entertainment use and political ideology: linking worldviews to media content. Communication Research, 48(4), 479-500. https://doi.org/10.1177/0093650218791011

Lundquist, K., & Trippl, M. (2013). Distance, proximity and types of cross-border innovation systems: a conceptual analysis. Regional Studies, 47(3), 450-460. https://doi.org/10.1080/00343404.2011.560933

Makkonen, T., & Rohde, S. (2016). Cross-border regional innovation systems: conceptual backgrounds, empirical evidence and policy implications. European Planning Studies, 24(9), 1623-1642. https://doi.org/10.1080/09654313.2016.1184626

Medeiros, E. (2015). Territorial impact assessment and cross-border cooperation. Regional Studies, Regional Science, 2(1), 97-115. https://doi.org/10.1080/21681376.2014.999108

Mikhaylova, A.A., Mikhaylov, A.S., & Hvaley, D.V. (2021). Receptiveness to innovation during the COVID-19 pandemic: asymmetries in the adoption of digital routines. Regional Studies, Regional Science, 8(1), 311-327. https://doi.org/10.1080/21681376.2021.1962400

Molema, M. (2021). Bright ideas, thick institutions. post-industrial development theories as drivers of cross-border cooperation. Journal of Borderlands Studies, 36(1), 59-75. https://doi.org/10.1080/08865655.2018.1496467

Papakyriakopoulos, O., Serrano, J.C.M., & Hegelich, S. (2020). Political communication on social media: A tale of hyperactive users and bias in recommender systems. Online Social Networks and Media, 15, 100058. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.osnem.2019.100058

Rafaeli, S., Leck, E., Albo, Y., Oppenheim, Y., & Getz, D. (2018). An innovative approach for measuring the digital divide in israel: digital trace data as means for formulating policy guidelines: final report. Haifa: The Samuel Neaman Institute for National Policy Research. https://www.neaman.org.il/Files/Measuring_the_Digital_Divide%20in_Israel_Final_July_29.pdf

Santos, E.E., Santos, Jr.E., Korah, J., Thompson, J.E., Gu, Q., Kim, K.J., Li, D., Russell, J., Subramanian, S., Zhang, Y., Zhao, Y. (2013). Modeling emergent border-crossing behaviors during pandemics. Proceedings of SPIE – The International Society for Optical Engineering, 87112013(87110Z). https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2018201

Schmøkel, R., & Bossetta, M. (2022). FBAdLibrarian and Pykognition: open science tools for the collec­tion and emotion detection of images in Facebook political ads with computer vision. Journal of Information Technology and Politics, 19(1), 118-128. https://doi.org/10.1080/19331681.2021.1928579

Spierings, B., & van der Velde, M. (2008). Shopping, borders and unfamiliarity: consumer mobility in Europe. Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie (Journal of Economic and Human Geography), 99(4), 497-505. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9663.2008.00484.x

Szytniewski, B., & Spierings, B. (2014). Encounters with otherness: implications of (un)familiarity for daily life in borderlands. Journal of Borderlands Studies, 29(3), 339-351. https://doi.org/10.1080/08865655.2014.938971

Theocharis, Y., & Jungherr, A. (2021). Computational social science and the study of political commu­nication. Political Communication, 38(1-2), 1-22. https://doi.org/10.1080/10584609.2020.1833121

Trippl, M. (2010). Developing cross-border regional innovation systems: Key factors and challenges. Tijdschrift Voor Economische En Sociale Geografie, 101(2), 150-160. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9663.2009.00522.x

Van Atteveldt, W., Althaus, S., & Wessler, H. (2021). The trouble with sharing your privates: pursuing ethical open science and collaborative research across national jurisdictions using sensitive data. Political Communication, 38(1-2), 192-198. https://doi.org/10.1080/10584609.2020.1744780

Van den Broek, J., Benneworth, P., & Rutten, R. (2018). Border blocking effects in collaborative firm innovation. European Planning Studies, 26, 7, 1330-1346. https://doi.org/10.1080/09654313.2018.1476470

Wojcieszak, M., de Leeuw, S., Menchen-Trevino, E., Lee, S., Huang-Isherwood, K.M., & Weeks, B. (2021). No polarization from partisan news: over-time evidence from trace data. International Journal of Press/Politics. https://doi.org/10.1177/19401612211047194

Yashunsky, A.D. (2021). On the social permeability of the borders of municipal units. Regional Research of Russia, 11, 327-335. https://doi.org/10.1134/S2079970521030126

Zdražil, P., & Kozuń-Cieślak, G. (2017). The role of cross-border cooperation initiatives in respect of regional development: case study of Euroregion Neisse. Scientific Papers of the University of Pardubice, Series D: Faculty of Economics and Administration, 24(40), 244-254. http://hdl.handle.net/10195/67942


Belokonev, S.Y., Chistov, I.I., & Pak, C.K. (2019). Electronic frontier as an environment of business and government relations. Vlast’, 27(5), 53-58. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.31171/vlast.v27i5.6719

Belokonev, S.Y., Vasil’ev, M.S., Titov, V.V. (2019). Digital technologies in modern electoral campaigns: specifics of application. Vlast’, 27(4), 51-57. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.31171/vlast.v27i4.6585

Dobrinskaya, D.E., & Martynenko, T.S. (2019). Perspectives of the Russian information society: digital divide levels. RUDN Journal of Sociology, 19(1), 108-120. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.22363/2313-2272-2019-19-1-108-120

Falaleev, M.A., Sitdikova, N.A., & Nechay, E.E. (2021). “Digital citizen”: the phenomenon and main scientific approaches. Society: Politics, Economics, Law, 1, 27-30. (In Russ.)

Fantazzini, D., Shakleina, M., & Yuras, N. (2018). Big data for computing social well-being indices of the Russian population. Applied Econometrics, 2, 43-66. (In Russ.)

Guba, K. (2018). Big Data in sociology: new data, new sociology? The Russian Sociological Review, 17(1), 213-236. (In Russ.)

Kazakovtsev, A.V. (2012). NATO and cyber security. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya, 2, 109-114. (In Russ.) http://dx.doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2012.2.16

Knyzhova, Z.Z., & Suslov, I.V. (2019). The Potential and prospects of political mobilization in the Internet space: a review of empirical research in the global and Russian context. Vlast’, 27(5), 59-66. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.31171/vlast.v27i5.6720

Kochetkov, A.P., Vasilenko, I.A., Volodenkov, S.V., Gadzhiev, K.S., Kovalenko, V.I., Soloviev, A.I., & Kirsanova, E.G. (2021). Political project for Russia: prospects for implementation in the context of challenges and risks of digitalization of society. Vlast’, 29(1), 317-331. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.31171/vlast.v29i1.7963

Kolosov, V.A., Zotova, M.V., Sebentsov, A.B. (2016). Barrier function of Russian borders. Izvestiya Rossiiskoi Akademii Nauk.Seriya Geograficheskaya, 5, 8-20. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.15356/0373-2444-2016-5-8-20

Korovkin, V. (2020). The digital life of Russian regions 2020: what defines the digital divide? SSRN. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.17835.26400

Korytnikova, N.V. (2015). Online Big Data as a source of analytic information in online research. Sociological Studies, 8, 14-24. (In Russ.)

Kudryashova, E., & Zarubina, L. (2019). Cross-border cooperation programmes as a resource of social and economic development of Barents region (case of ENPI Kolarctic programme). Contemporary Europe, 4, 85-97. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.15211/soveurope420198596

Kurylev, K.P., & Smolik, N.G. (2021). Book review: political processes in the post-soviet space: new trends and old problems. Vestnik RUDN. International Relations, 21(3), 591-593. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.22363/2313-0660-2021-21-3-591-593

Makoveychuk, A.V. (2018). The prospects for digitalization the political sphere at the regional level in contemporary Russia. Humanities and Social Sciences. Bulletin of the Financial University, 8(4), 10-15. (In Russ.)

Mikhaylenok, O.M., & Malysheva, G.A. (2020). Robotization of social media and its political implica­tions. Vlast’, 28(1), 85-92. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.31171/vlast.v28i1.7046

Mikhaylova, A.A. (2021). Valuating the appropriation of digital technologies across Russian regions. Baltic Region, 13(3), 168-184. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.5922/2079-8555-2021-3-9

Pavlyutenkova, M.Yu. (2019). Electronic government vs digital government in the context of digital transformation. Monitoring of Public Opinion: Economic and Social Changes, 5, 120-135. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.14515/monitoring.2019.5.07

Plotichkina, N.V. (2021). Public policy infodemic management. Society: Politics, Economics, Law, 2, 12-16. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.24158/pep.2021.2.1

Popova, O. (2021). Online political communication of youth from Russian megapolises. Galactica Media: Journal of Media Studies, 3(2), 28-54. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.46539/gmd.v3i2.157

Rastorguev, S.V., & Tyan, Y.S. (2019). Digitalization of the Russian economy: trends, personnel, plat­forms, and challenges to the state. Monitoring of Public Opinion: Economic and Social Changes, 5, 136-161. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.14515/monitoring.2019.5.08

Shinyaeva, O.V., Poletaeva, O.V., & Slepova, O.M. (2019). Information and digital inequality: searching for effective population adaptation practices. Monitoring of Public Opinion: Economic and Social Changes, 4, 68-85. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.14515/monitoring.2019.4.04

Tolstova, Yu.N. (2015). Sociology and computer technologies. Sociological Studies, 8, 3-13. (In Russ.)

Vendina, O. (2019). Living in the borderland: how residents of Russian border towns interpret se­curity problems. Laboratorium: Russian Review of Social Research, 11(2), 30-69. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.25285/2078-1938-2019-11-2-30-69

Volodenkov, S.V. (2020). The contemporary political processes transformation in the context of society digitalization: key scenarios. Outlines of Global Transformations: Politics, Economics, Law, 13(2), 6-24. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.23932/2542-0240-2020-13-2-1

Zamyatina, N.Y., & Yashunsky, A.D. (2018). Virtual geography of virtual population. Monitoring of Public Opinion: Economic and Social Changes, 1, 117-137. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.14515/monitoring.2018.1.07

Zhuravleva, Е.Yu. (2015). Sociology in digital environment: towards digital social research. Sociological Studies, 8, 25-33. (In Russ.)

Zotova, M., & Gritsenko, A. (2020). Borders, neighbors, and neighborhood in the life of small Russian border towns. Geographical Bulletin, 2, 75-90. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.17072/2079-7877-2020-2-75-90

Zotova, M., Gritsenko, A., & Sebentsov, A. (2018). Everyday Life in the Russian Borderlands: the Motives and Determinants of Cross-border Practices. Mir Rossii, 27(4), 56-77. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.17323/1 811-038X-2018-27-4-56-77 

Content No. 3, 2022

See also:

Kosov Yu.V.,
Trans-Border Regional Cooperation: the North-West of Russia. – Polis. Political Studies. 2003. No5

Shinkovsky M.Yu.,
Trans-border Cooperation as a Lever to Be Applied for the Development of Russian Far East. – Polis. Political Studies. 2004. No5

Turovsky R.F.,
Subnational regions in global politics. – Polis. Political Studies. 2011. No2

Mamonov M.V.,
Information policy and the changing of public opinion. – Polis. Political Studies. 2011. No5

Palmowski T., Fedorov G.M.,
Russian-Polish Borderland: Problems and Prospects for the Development of Cross-Border Relations. – Polis. Political Studies. 2020. No2



Introducing an article

Polis. Political Studies
6 2008

Hunt M.
Between the Empire and the Hegemony: Turmoil in the USA Politics

 The article text


   2023      2022      2021   
   2020      2019      2018      2017      2016   
   2015      2014      2013      2012      2011   
   2010      2009      2008      2007      2006   
   2005      2004      2003      2002      2001   
   2000      1999      1998      1997      1996   
   1995      1994      1993      1992      1991