MOSCOW: Russia’s new Internet-savvy opposition is going online to protest and monitor the presidential elections on March 4, bringing its iPhones and Twitter into the fray against Vladimir Putin.
As jokes and spoof videos about Putin, expected to win back the presidency in Sunday’s polls, spread like wildfire on social networking sites and YouTube, opposition activists are using the Internet to promote their cause.
After a slow start, Internet use has sky-rocketed in Russia in recent years and last year the country overtook Germany as having Europe’s largest number of Internet users, a development the opposition have not hesitated to exploit.This week a Moscow-based programme developer, Alexei Chistyakov, 29, presented a new iPhone app to allow election monitors at polling stations to instantly report violations.
Activist Ilya Yashin, of the Solidarity movement said he feels equally at home with the audience of his blogs as when yelling out speeches at rallies.Putin, who has slammed the Internet as “50% pornography”, has barely entered the Internet battle. But worryingly for him, that’s hardly representative of Russians today.