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Russian Activists Fight Municipal Corruption with ‘Mortal Kombat’-Style Website

Russian activists pitch an online battle against corrupt local officials, 'Mortal Kombat'-style. Screenshot from

Russian activists pitch an online battle against corrupt local officials, “Mortal Kombat”-style. Screenshot from

Anti-corruption activists from Komanda 29 (“Team 29″), a group of Russian lawyers and journalists dedicated to promoting transparency, came up with an ingenious way to draw attention to their latest project centered on court hearings against local authorities and anti-corruption investigations. Together with Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, Komanda 29 designed a website called “MunKombat” or “Municipal Kombat.”

Styled after the popular video game hit “Mortal Kombat,” the website keeps track of ongoing court battles and their results, as the activists work to bring to justice Russia's local municipal officials who refuse to disclose publicly significant information, such as data about their earnings. Users can also submit their own requests for investigating a local official.

Муниципалы — самая близкая к тебе власть. Их работа — делать твою жизнь комфортнее, но вместо этого они пилят, скрывают доходы, не отвечают на вопросы о проблемах благоустройства. Устал жить дружно? Расскажи о них проекту Мункомбат и жди фаталити, бруталити и прошибания противником потолка (на самом деле, мы будем подавать заявления в суд).

The municipal [officials] are your closest authorities. Their job is to make your life more comfortable, but instead they steal, conceal their incomes, ignore questions about community improvements. Tired of playing nice? Tell the MunKombat project about them and expect “fatality,” “brutality,” and your opponents going through the roof (actually, we'll just take them to court).

The first court hearings have already taken place, and others are ongoing, listed in a calendar on the “Municipal Kombat” website. The local civil servants who have been successfully prosecuted on corruption charges are listed as “defeated.” The activists are also promoting the project on social media using the #MunKombat hashtag.

Komanda 29 was founded by Ivan Pavlov, a Saint Petersburg-based lawyer and activist promoting freedom of information. In April 2015, Pavlov and a team of lawyers launched another website, Infodozor (“Infowatch”) which tracks the levels of transparency and openness at various municipal offices across Russia. The Anti-Corruption Foundation was founded in 2011 by opposition politician Alexey Navalny and works on investigating corruption among top Russian officials, election monitoring, and improving state utility services for Russian citizens, among other projects.

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