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Russia's Haves And 'Refuse To Haves'


President Dmitry Medvedev records a video blog post at the Kremlin, just like "simple folk."

President Dmitry Medvedev records a video blog post at the Kremlin, just like "simple folk."

During the Russian Internet Week conference in late October, Aleksei Chadayev, head of United Russia's Central Executive Committee, stated that members of the Russian government should be forbidden -- by law -- from blogging.

To reinforce his point, Chadayev cited the classic Russian novel "The Brothers Karamazov": "Power rests on three pillars -- wonder, mystery, and authority."

Chadayev added that having a blog shows that the people in power "are simple folk, like everyone else."

But what about Russian President Dmitry Medvedev -- or, as he is known by the "simple people," @KremlinRussia -- who has been campaigning for legislators and regional governors to get on the Internet since he started using Twitter last June?

After his spring trip to Silicon Valley (from whence he sent his first tweet) to his recent welcome of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger via Twitter, Medvedev has stressed, in no uncertain terms, that the Internet is both the new campaign trail and forum.

In Medvedev's stead, governors and deputies across Russia have started Live Journal-ing (the most popular blogging platform in Russia) or blogging on their own personal sites.

Blogger Andrei Zamula has taken the time to click through the blogs of local leaders from Russia's central region -- the majority of whom have blogs, and the remainder "plan to begin blogging soon."

So what's the party line? Is blogging the next political wave in Russia? Or is the Internet-dot-ru divided into the haves and the "refuse to haves"?

-- Ashley Cleek

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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