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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs