Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), successor to the good ol’ Soviet-era KGB, applies pressure on the VKontakte social networking site—in a bid to snuff post-electoral protests, and put a long-escaped genie back into the totalitarian bottle. Good luck with that, guys. From Reuters:
Russia’s top social networking site on Thursday defiantly rejected a request by the Federal Security Service to block opposition groups from using it to organize street protests accusing the authorities of rigging this week’s election.
Over 45,000 people in Moscow alone have pledged on Facebook and the Russian site, VKontakte, to join fresh protests on Saturday against the 12-year rule of Vladimir Putin and the victory of his United Russia party in Sunday’s parliament vote.
The move by the Federal Security Service (FSB), successor to the Soviet KGB, was reminiscent of attempts by some Arab governments to sever online communication between protesters.
“We received a request from the FSB asking us to close activities by groups calling to make noise on the street, to organize a revolution,” VKontakte spokesman Vladislav Tsyplukhin said in e-mailed comments.
Defying the request, Tsyplukhin said: “We can’t block groups simply because some individual users call for violence.”
Putin meanwhile played the facile card of scapegoating the US for the protests, saying that “mercenary” Kremlin foes launched the demos after receiving “a signal” form Hillary Clinton. The same jive we heard regarding Egypt earlier this year, regarding Belarus last year, and regarding Iran the year before that. Do you think maybe it’s just vaguely possible that lots of Russians really are pist off at Putin? Just a thought…