Dmitry Golubovsky, editor of Esquire Russia, interviews “Alexei Navalny — blogger, political activist, and self-described “network hamster” “:
ESQUIRE: The primary cause of the current protests across Russia were the federal parliamentary elections on December 4. What do you remember most about voting day?
ALEXEI NAVALNY: Everybody was nervous and worried, myself probably more than others, because I initiated a campaign against United Russia, the ruling party, under the slogan “Party of Crooks and Thieves.” The slogan appeared by accident — during a radio show, the host asked me how I felt about United Russia, and I said, “Very bad. United Russia is a party of crooks and thieves.” Later, I announced a poll on my blog — “Do you consider United Russia to be the Party of Crooks and Thieves?” — and 97 percent of 40,000 people said “Yes,” and away we go. From the very beginning, it was clear that the election was going to be unjust, but I really wanted to know if one could do any significant damage to United Russia by means of a campaign launched on the Internet. That’s what we did, and our main message was: vote for anyone except the Party of Crooks and Thieves. It seemed way more effective than simply boycotting the election — just another strategy propagated by the opposition — because it was in the interest of all the small parties that took part in the vote to join us…
ESQ: How much do you think the Internet influenced the December protests?
AN: I think about 40 percent of people came to protest mainly because of the Internet. The past year, year and a half was very important in this respect: broadband became cheaper, mobile Internet spread dramatically. And this quantity transformed to quality. The Internet has become a true information infrastructure in big cities — and can now even challenge TV. Social networks gave us some very much needed infrastructure, and different services are useful in very different ways. LiveJournal (The main blogging platform in Russia. —Ed.) was good for informational, more detailed posts. Facebook has more multimedia features — likes, links, posters, videos, events, where you can see if your friends are going to this and that rally or not. Smartphones and Twitter hook people up to news 24/7. And for some things even I, a 35-year-old, am too old — for instance, I made a big mistake when I didn’t run the campaign against crooks and thieves in Vkontakte: I simply don’t understand how this social network works, unlike my employees at “Rospil.” (A noncommercial anti-corruption project founded by Navalny this year that raised over $250,000 from Internet users. —Ed.) But the people didn’t go out on the streets because of Facebook or LiveJournal — it’s because they were angry. If it wasn’t for this informational infrastructure, they’d go anyway, but it would be harder for them to coordinate their efforts, and because of that the protest would probably break out in a more aggressive way. Now, since everything is easier to organize, the protests are more peaceful….
More detail, including an explanation of the “network hamster” nik, at the link.
Just caught that through Charlie Pierce over there.
Man Charles is the bomb, I’m tellin’ ya’!
This sounds vaguely familiar……….
Two posts, and someone manages to make this about the 2000 Election. That has to be some kind of record.
BUSH. WON. FLORIDA. Get over it.
@Veritas: Actually he didn’t. He may have been GIVEN Florida by the Supreme Imbeciles, but you will not convince me that he won the majority.
Just like some people refuse to believe we went to the moon, I guess.
Was 2004 “STOLEN!!111!1” too?
David in NY
Bush v. Gore was the least principled, most political, most “activist” decision in history. Get over it.
Somebody has a guilty conscience. Old Ben didn’t even mention FL, let alone the USA.
The Russians are serious about this. May the FSM love them. They’ve got guts.
Villago Delenda Est
Sorry, shitstain, but the deserting coward STOLE Florida. Nothing you can say will change that.
All I want for christmas is for everybody to start ignoring stupid trolls.
Looks like we’re heading to LLLLLLLLLLL territory with ol’ Verrie here. Anyone who remembers his days as “The Truth” on Sadly, No! will know what I mean (he threw a fit one day and started just posting comments full of keyboard-mashing garbage.)
Mike in NC
“Party of Crooks and Thieves”? Tell those Russkies the GOP has copyright on that.
Gin & Tonic
Three posts, and some fucking moron that people can’t stop themselves from responding to derails the thread. This is about Russia, not the US. It’s actually pretty fucking important.
How about some self-control, people.
This Russian episode would make a great movie, something along the lines of Z. A young Rutger Hauer would be perfect as Navalny.
The protests are very inspiring, but I’m leery of Navalny. There is no Russian savior, unfortunately. But I’m praying for the best. The country deserves for something good to happen for a change.
Gin & Tonic
@gogol’s wife: I can’t figure out why Prokhorov threw his hat in the ring. Nothing good can come of it for him. I wouldn’t be surprised at a mysterious auto accident, or some weird unexplained illness. I mean look at Khodorkovsky.
@Gin & Tonic:
I think Putin is trying to figure out how to get 100,000 people on the street to drink thallium-laced tea.
I do worry a little bit that too much attention from the western press will give the Kremlin ammo to use against the activists. It’s happened before, the last thing you want is to give credence to the “backed by the US” conspiracies over in Russia. The exiled online is good for coverage of this, Mark Ames and Matt Taibbi, they have videos of pro-Kremlin protesters being bussed into Moscow and then hiding their faces in shame as they get on and off the buses.
I’ve been on LJ since 2002, and this article highlights something I’ve thought for a while:
I think it’s awesome what the Russian bloggers are doing with LJ. I also think that perhaps the needs of Russian political bloggers and fandom porn writers are not the same.
@ Darkrose ~
The fandom porn writers of my acquaintance are mostly jumping ship to Dreamwidth or Tumblr and cross-posting to LJ — they’ve been falling out of favor for a while and the latest wankstorm about arbitrary un-optable layout changes, on top of the frequent politically-driven DDoS attacks taking the site down for days at a time, is running a lot of fandom off to friendlier and more stable climes.
Though, for the record, I think that the ONTD-Celebrity/Socio/Political Gossip Machine has a far, far greater presence on LJ right now than even the largest, loudest, wankiest fandom communities.