Blogger against blogger in the name of Putin
Moscow – If the Net is made up of conversations, why let conversations opposing power dominate the scene? Why not enter the dialogue of the connected public sphere, raising your voice and chanting propaganda slogans through blogs? This seems to be the goal of the Russian authorities, which the Washington Post tells through bloggers and local authorities in a full-bodied report.
Traditional television and media are no longer the only tools through which state propaganda, particularly important in view of next spring’s presidential elections, can be deployed. 25 percent of Russian adults regularly accesses the network : data in continuous growth, analysts forecast. The voice of bloggers and independent media risks reaching more and more netizens: for this reason, the Russian citizens of the Net venture, the government has unleashed a large number array of supporters ready to go online .
We start with the more traditional media. Vzglyad, a magazine that promotes an image of a rampant and modern Russia, a dynamic consumer of luxury goods, has recently appeared: the government denies and also denies the director, but online the voices of those who claim to be Putin’s men to trace his editorial line with substantial funding. Even bastions of the independent press such as Gazeta.ru have recently fallen into the hands of industry moguls who orbit around Putin and the government.
Alexander Mamut, who has been awarded the rights to develop the Russian version of the LiveJournal blogging platform, Zhyvoi Zhurnal, which boasts half a million users, shares a pro-government orientation.
Those who operate on the web are not censored, even if the government has not given up monitoring and punishing netizens guilty of lashing out at the category of law enforcement agencies, and bloggers who have used the Net to convey their literary ambitions, jailed “for having divulged false information about a terrorist act “.
A sudden pro-government wave is rather sweeping the grassroot web: it seems that it is the Russian government that coordinates the dialogues that are intertwined on the net, it seems that it is the government that pushes more and more bloggers to sing the praises of Putin’s work and to operate an online social control, a social control aimed at deconstructing the arguments of netizens against the government, aimed at stifling the voice of critics.
“The Internet is the freest mass media – says a twenty-six year old blogger who in his posts supports Putin’s policy – there is free competition between the voice of the state and that of the opposition organizations”. The Russian strategy is not only welcomed by pro-government netizens: this is also the opinion of a supporter of the United Civil Front, who considers it positive that the pro-government fringes face the dialogue on the Net, rather than ignore it casually.
That’s not all, the Post reports. The Kremlin is considering developing an alternative Internet, a Russianet for the use and consumption of netizens of the former Soviet republics only: it will not replace the global network, but will place itself alongside it as a local alternative. After all, “the Internet was developed as a free medium and should remain so” announced the Russian communications minister Leonid Reiman.