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Russia

Russian Blogosphere Dissects Claims That West Funded Opposition

An opposition demonstration on Pushkin Square in Moscow -- bloggers have accused a state TV report of spreading lies and false information.
An opposition demonstration on Pushkin Square in Moscow -- bloggers have accused a state TV report of spreading lies and false information.
By RFE/RL
The Russian blogosphere and opposition media are offering a heated response to a televised report accusing the country's opposition of dirty tricks in the protest season ahead of this month's presidential vote.

The report, "Anatomy of a Protest," was aired on March 15 on the government-controlled channel NTV.

The program begins by playing down the number of people participating in the season's opposition rallies -- estimated by some to be the largest crowds since the collapse of the Soviet Union -- and poses a series of caustic questions about the anti-Kremlin activists and their methods.

"How does the opposition prepare its provocations? What do they mean by the phrase 'ritual sacrifice'? Who benefits? And what are people from the U.S. Embassy doing at the protests?" the report asks.

The NTV report goes on to accuse the opposition of tactics that journalists and activists say are more commonly associated with supporters of the regime.

Among them: paying protesters to bulk up crowd sizes, goading the police in hopes of sparking violence, and even arranging a so-called "ritual sacrifice" of an opposition leader as a provocation.

The report goes on to indirectly suggest that such activities were made possible through funding by the United States and other Western countries, a common refrain in Kremlin assessments of antigovernment activism.

Journalists and bloggers were quick to pounce on the NTV report, saying it was deliberately misleading and replete with false information.

One blogger, Drugoi, wrote on the blogging platform LiveJournal that many of the activities ascribed to the opposition in the NTV report -- for example, the payment of rent-a-crowd activists gathered at the Sokolniki subway stop ahead of protests on February 26 -- had in fact already been documented in the media as the work of pro-regime organizers.

The backlash was quickly registered on Twitter as well, with hashtags like #NTVlzhyot, or "NTV lies" rapidly becoming one of the top trending topics worldwide.

The opposition has called for a series of weekend demonstrations to protest the NTV video.
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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ed from: Maryland
March 17, 2012 01:15
The Putin regime seems to work overtime at insulting its own citizens. According to the Putin administration and NTV, middle class Russians are completely unable to organize anything on their own at all. The US Embassy has to do it for them. And isn't it noteworthy about that according to the Putin administration and the their stooges like Nashi that anyone who so much as believes in the idea of universal human values is somehow clearly a puppet of the West. And good lord, everything that they didn't think of themselves is a provocation.
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
March 17, 2012 10:47
Hi, Senator Ed McCain, as a matter of fact the citizens of Russia were so desperately waiting for you to come and liberate them from this horrible horrible horrible "Putin regime", and you just limited yourself to talking - please come and set them all free finally :-)!!!
In Response

by: Anonymous from: USA
March 17, 2012 15:21
Hi, Hugenio Chavez, our favorite leftist, anti-gringo patient. It's time for you to take your medicine and go back to your padded room again!
In Response

by: Idrian from: Surrey
March 17, 2012 23:01
Like that was even said

by: Ray F. from: Lawrence, KS
March 17, 2012 20:04
Sad to say but the west/US has so compromised itself by promoting democratic principles while at the same time profiting from doing business with anti-democratic regimes. The Kremlin has proven tireless in exploiting this hypocrisy and will use it as a big stick to crush those in Russia who dare to suggest that a state’s power is derived from the consent of the governed.

Russians who can read English; you ought to understand that while governments in the west (to include the US) will talk much about global human rights and the democratic aspirations of all people, the first priority of these western leaders is to defend and support the interests of their own people. To stay in power, they are more than willing to work with an autocrat like Putin. When it comes to fostering genuine democracy, you are on your own!

by: La Russophobe from: USA
March 17, 2012 21:25
I would really like to see some better reporting on this, a systematic review of each claim made by NTV and sourced comment on its veracity. It is simply a fact that the opposition did pay for some supporters, but probably to a vastly lesser extent than did the Putin regime. However, it is still fair to point it out that they did so, and they should not seek to deflect this criticism. The movement has failed spectacularly, today's protest where Nemtsov spoke drew a pathetic crowd of just 300. If the opposition can't listen to criticism and reform, it is no better than Putin or the Politburo. And if NTV is documented to have told lies, it must be called to account.

by: mdbastudent
March 18, 2012 05:39
I'd say the "Anatomy of Protests" is a fairly accurate portrayal of the situation in Russia. Opposition represents no one but themselves. With each consecutive meeting fewer Russians pay attention. Psy ops by US gov. are well known - Russia is no exception, just another target. It will take time for US to learn that in some countries people will call a spade a spade. If yo don't like it - get the F out :)

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