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A Thorn In The Government’s Side

Posted on: October 11th, 2011 by Cormack Consultancy. 4 Comments

This blog post is dedicated to the Russian blogosphere LiveJournal, which is quite an interesting example of social media platform. While Russian media is not being a perfect example of free press, a new platform for expressing opinions is emerging, which is the blogosphere. In Russia, the most prominent blog platform called LiveJournal (LJ) is currently one of the most influential opinion shapers in Russia. As a result, it seems that the government started to attack the LJ in order to silence some of the loudest voices.

Alexey Navalny’s blog, called by the Time magazine “a thorn in the government’s side”, is the 3rd most popular blog in the whole LiveJournal, with more than 50 thousand subscribers. It is the platform for uncovering the corrupt and seemingly legal actions of the government and big companies of Russia. The  most famous revelations include:

  1. The illegal action of Transneft, the state oil transport monopoly, during the construction of the pipeline East Siberia – Pacific Ocean, which cost around $4 billion for Russian tax payers.
  2. Embezzlement of $150 million by the officials of the Russian state-owned bank VTB.
  3. The massive “expenses for charities” of Rosneft which do not reach any charities.

Navalny has a great influence among the politically active Russians. He was named the “Private Individual of the Year 2009” by the newspaper Vedomosti.

However, not everyone admires the corruption-fighter. At the end of April 2011 a cyber attack, the first of its kind, hit Navalny’s blog as well as several other popular blogs in the Russian blogosphere. Interestingly, it happened just after Navalny had drawn huge public attention to Transneft’s case. This obvious coincidence did not remain unnoticed, and the ideas that the attack was initiated by the government began to spread. It seems possible that authorities tried to shut the powerful bloggers, such as Navalny, who, in turn, is “poking them with a sharp stick”.

The most recent attack was at the end of July. Although even the blog of the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, was down for several hours, the public opinion still agrees that the attack was initiated by the Kremlin. While the Internet community remains upset and lost, Navalny and his followers claim that they are not going to move to other platforms. Taking into account the repetitiveness of the attacks, as well as their obvious targets, I am sure that soon the Russian governmental authorities will have to explain these actions in front of the voters, or take more actions in order to prevent them.

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