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Not So Khorosho: Russian #Itisgoodhere Campaign Goes Awry

  • Anna Shamanska

Russia is a country where people "know how to relax in civilized manner in eco-cities," opposition activist Lev Dmitriyev tweeted -- with a generous dose of sarcasm.

Russia is a country where people "know how to relax in civilized manner in eco-cities," opposition activist Lev Dmitriyev tweeted -- with a generous dose of sarcasm.

Ahead of Russia's National Unity Day, a major state news agency launched a social-media campaign that was apparently aimed at creating a map of happy Russian regions in time for the holiday.

It didn't quite go as planned.

Preparing for the November 4 holiday, which commemorates the defeat of Polish invaders in 1612, Rossia Segodnya asked users across the country to post geo-located photos with the hashtag #itisgoodhere (#здесьхорошо).

"To take part in the flash mob it is sufficient to post a photo from any corner of Russia with the hashtag #itisgoodhere, the geo-location, and an explanation of why the location in the photo is remarkable," Rossia Segodnya's statement said.

Plenty of people took the call at face value.

"It is good to fish here," wrote a journalist from Magadan, a remote northeastern area known for prison camps in the Soviet era.

But others focused on the darker side of Russian life.

For instance, these images depict the police crackdown on protesters at a major antigovernment rally on Moscow's Bolotnaya Square in May 2012, on the eve of Vladimir Putin's inauguration to a third presidential term.

Others tweeted that Russia is a country where corruption blossoms. The homes of the Rotenberg brothers, construction magnates with ties to Putin, are on the left, and the house of Vladimir Yakunin, former head of Russian Railways, appears on the right.

To some, Russia is a country where health care is in decline. At least, judging by the peeling paint and scuffed, stained floorboards at the Mayna district hospital in Ulyanovsk Oblast.

It is also a country where people "know how to relax in civilized manner in eco-cities," opposition activist Lev Dmitriyev tweeted -- with a generous dose of sarcasm. The photo he posted shows women smoking, with cups of beer close at hand, while a boy plays against a backdrop of smoke-belching factories.

It is a country where mud chokes a street in the capital of the Mari-El Republic, Yoshkar-Ola, prominent Russian blogger Ilya Varlamov says.

Another tweet made its point about Russia by placing photos of two slain Kremlin critics -- investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya and opposition politician Boris Nemtsov -- under the #itisgoodhere hashtag.

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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