Latest posts by Kevin Rothrock from March, 2013
Arseny Bobrovsky, the owner of a Russian PR firm called “Daily Communications,” would be a thoroughly typical example of Moscow’s “creative class” liberals, were it not for one thing: Bobrovsky has a secret identity. At least he did, anyway, until March 25, 2013, when he and his accomplice Katya Romanovskaya outed themselves to the world as the authors of KermlinRussia, one of the most popular accounts on Russian Twitter.
Anti-corruption blogger Alexey Navalny is causing more waves at Aeroflot Airlines, where he has called for an internal investigation into a contract worth 64 million rubles awarded without competition to Apostol Media Group.
The ploy was simple: Andrei Turinov, a town councilman from Novouspenskii, posted to the Internet an open letter addressing Dmitri Medvedev, declaring the exit of 60 United Russia members from the party. The timing was perfect, and for a brief moment one small village in Krasnoyarsk had the attention of the nation's political elite.
Russia's best known anti-corruption blogger, Alexey Navalny, shocked [ru] many of his supporters when he attended a banquet at the Kremlin yesterday, March 18, 2013.
Conspiracies are the stuff of Russian politics, and the anarchy of online political discourse makes the RuNet an especially exciting place to watch conspiracy theories unfold. Consider Bill Browder and the late Sergei Magnitsky, the two key figures in a multimillion-dollar tax fraud scam. For years, Russian federal investigators and Browder’s firm have traded accusations about who’s to blame for the theft of 230 million dollars.
Earlier this week, a judge in Krasnodar disqualified a politician running for city council, after determining that his campaign materials infringed on copyrights of three popular Internet social networks: Twitter, Facebook, and Vkontakte. What exactly was this man’s crime? He ran a black-and-white newspaper advertisement that included the three websites’ logos.
Earlier today, Yuri Saprykin, announced that Gazeta.ru’s editors have removed Maria Tsybulskaya from the newspaper’s video-interviews project, because her interview with Saprykin included off-limits political questions about the criminal cases surrounding last May’s violent protest at Bolotnaia Square, and Putin’s declining support in national polls.
Yesterday, on March 4, Vladimir Putin signed an executive order regarding the creation of a government petitions online platform, which will allow Russian citizens to create and vote on various policy issues at the federal, regional, and local levels. The website, which is scheduled to go live for federal petitions in April 2013 and regional and local issues in November 2013, will be called the “Russian Public Initiative.”
The turbulence of the 1990s seems to have returned to Russia, despite a political culture built on the expectation that Vladimir Putin keeps such chaos at bay. What role can netizens play in a Russia with an increasingly fragmented ruling elite?