News

    Cyberspace Pierces Putin's Mystique

    James Brooke

    Russians again elected Vladimir Putin president on Sunday.  But his third term as president promises to be very different than his first two.  Russia's rapidly expanding Internet is piercing the Putin image as a 21st century czar.



    Vladimir Putin is not on trial.  It is an anti-Putin attack video prepared days before Russia's presidential election.

    Watched by more than three-million people, this 50-second fake news clip shows how Russia's political warfare is moving to cyberspace.

    Half of all Russian voters are now on the Internet, a phenomenon that was marginal when Mr. Putin left the presidency, in 2008.

    Konstantin von Eggert, a Russian television and radio journalist talks about the impact of the Internet. "It definitely lifts the taboo, that I think has been pretty much already lifted, on this image of an untouchable, omnipotent, knowledgeable leader who always knows best," he said.

    Putin supporters strike back with this music video "VVP" - the initials of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

    Tajik crooner Tolibjon Kurbankhanov sings:

    "VVP - he saved the country
    VVP - he protects us
    VVP - raised up Russia"


    "Russia Without Putin" offers a nightmare scenario of Russia without a modern day czar.

    NATO troops occupy Kaliningrad, Russia's westernmost region.

    China pushes north and occupies a big chunk of Siberia.

    Japan occupies Russia's Pacific Coast port of Vladivostok.

    Money printing makes the ruble worthless.

    Electricity is rationed.  Anarchy reigns in Russian cities.

    The West responds, awarding opposition leader Alexei Navalny the Nobel Peace Prize.

    Concluding with the opposition slogan "Russia Without Putin," the video adds: You are welcome."  

    Von Eggert sees the internet speeding up and freeing Russia's political debate. "The spread of the Internet in Russia undermines the ability of the government to impact the day-to-day agenda and to impose its views," he said.

    In a counterattack, "The Real Putin" focuses on the yachts and palaces associated with Mr. Putin and his associates in the energy business.

    This video focuses on corruption - a leading Russian complaint against the Putin government.

    Using humor Ksenia Sobchak, a Russian celebrity, mocks filmed endorsements of Mr. Putin.

    To combat charges that protesters are big city snobs, opposition sites promote a song by two veterans of Russia's elite paratrooper core.  They sing a bitter ballad:

    "You are no different from me, a man and not God.  I'm no different from you, a man, not a sod; We will not let you keep lying.  We will not let you keep stealing."

    This May, Vladimir Putin returns to the Kremlin.

    But, thanks to the Internet, he will rule a Russia that is more skeptical, and more informed, than ever before.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020i
    X
    Ramon Taylor
    May 05, 2016 10:05 PM
    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020

    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Child Labor in Afghanistan Remains a Problem

    With war still raging in Afghanistan, the country also faces the problem of child labor as families put their school-age children to work to help make ends meet. But, thanks to VOA's Afghan Service, two families whose children had been working in a brick-making factory - to earn their livings and pay off family debts - now have a new lease on life. Zabihullah Ghazi reports.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora