The whole world now knows that the situation in Russia after December 4th elections to State Duma is unstable. And if during Soviet times, people were gathering in their kitchens to discuss political themes, now, in the era of the Internet, Russians go online.
One of the heroes of this week is Alexei Navalny, an ardent anti-corruption and anti-Putin fighter, a famous blogger and social activist. He burst out with an inspirational speech during a spontaneous meeting of protesters in Moscow next day after elections, and was arrested by Russian police for 15 days. Out of 1000 protesters, arrested in Moscow and St. Petersburg, whom Europe has already called “prisoners of conscience”, Navalny became, probably, the most famous political prisoner of the week.
Another hero, despite his political indifference, is Pavel Durov – the creator of the most popular and most populated social network of Russia “VKontakte”. He reported, that he got a letter from FSB (the Federal Security Service of Russian Federation), with a recommendation to close some of the opposition groups registered in his network. Pavel responded with a publication of this letter and ignored Russian security services’ request, which raised a huge rapture among the users of VKontakte. Now Durov is ordered to appear at a public prosecutor’s office. But Pavel is not going to yeild and march to the beat of authorities drum. At least someone still remembers that there is an official freedom of speech in Russia.
The title of “The Honoured Loser of the Russian Internet” goes this week not to just anybody, but to the very president of Russia Dmitry Medvedev, well known for his passion for progress and social networking. On Tuesday a repost from “United Russia” and State Duma member Konstantin Rykov appeared on his account, stating something like (sorry, we just can’t cite the original phrase, it’s too obscene): “Those who use a term “the party of crooks and thieves” (a joke-name for a party-in-power “United Russia”) are a stupid bunch of @#$%& jackasses” and a smilie at the end… Internet users are perplexed over a reason, why would a president post something like that, especially in the light of mass protests against “the party of crooks and thieves”? Kremlin gave an official explanation, that some guy, who is in charge for changing president’s twitter account password, retwitted this phrase, and he would be “punished” for that. Though before Medvedev swore that no one has an access to his account but himself. Whatever the truth is, such negligence only added fuel to a fire of people’s displeasure with Russian government.
The main event of the week in Russia will take place tomorrow, December 10th, when squares of all large and smaller cities of the country will be swarmed with thousands of protesters. And though the government scares people with massive hordes of riot squads, with unexpected mandatory “winter draft” to the army for young men, who participate in the protests, and other “unpleasant consequences” for the consciences display of citizens political views – the landslide has begun and no one can stop it’s momentum.
Article by Katie Sonis