The Kremlin is using Facebook in a bid to quell anti-government sentiment, following the country’s largest protests since the fall of the USSR.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev posted on his Facebook Page Sunday, saying that he was ordering an investigation into violations during Russian parliamentary elections. The post, which has garnered more than 4,200 Likes and 13,000 comments, touts the freedom of speech and assembly, but also says the Russian president does not agree with the protester’s slogans.
Anti-government protesters are largely unhappy with the president’s remarks. The Telegraph translated some of the milder comments, including, “Go now, shame of the country,” “Dim, are you taking the mick?” and “Your time has gone, everything was decided yesterday, democracy will be created not by you.”
Protests in Moscow’s Triumphal Square and in other cities throughout the country last week, began after a YouTube video went viral. The clip shows a government poll worker filling in an elderly women’s ballot. Some 50,000 Russians gathered to demand the primary votes be recast and the head of the election commission Vladimir Churov be removed from office. The BBC wrote Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister and former president, has never experienced popular protests of this magnitude during his decade of political leadership.
Earlier this week, Trend Micro researcher Maxim Goncharov found pro-Kremlin Twitter messages were auto-generated by computers, spamming conversations and reducing the voice of decent. The bots used the protesters’ hashtag #триумфальная (Triumfalnaya) to drown conversations, while posting up to 10 messages per second.SEE ALSO: 9 Social Media Uprisings That Sought to Change the World in 2011
It’s no surprise social media is influencing so many aspects of the Russian protests. In November, Internet monitoring company comScore reported Russia overtaking Germany as the European nation with the deepest Internet penetration, meaning the country was home to the most unique Internet visitors. The country has more than five million Facebook users.
VKontakte, Russia’s largest social network (similar to Facebook), denied a government request to shut down the accounts of government opposition groups, Russian news site RIA Novosti reported Dec. 8.
Do you think Medvedev made a bad decision by opening himself and his government up for ridicule on his Facebook Page? Share your reactions in the comments.
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