For over a week now, Russians have been coming out in the thousands to contest the results of the recent parliamentary elections. Protesters contend that there was massive voter fraud during the elections. They are frustrated, even outraged, at Vladimir Putin’s plan to return as President next year. Time recently posted a photo essay on the protests and counterprotests in Russia.
In a related article, Simon Schuster writes of Alexei Navalny, a Russian blogger and activist who has played a prominent role in the protests. Navalny, who coined the phrase “The Party of Crooks and Thieves” to describe Putin’s party United Russia, rails against government corruption on his blog. Echoing participants in the Mobilizing Ideas dialogue on Earl and Kimport’s book on digital media and activism, the article cites the important role of blogging and other internet technologies in mobilizing participants in the recent protests. Navalny’s blog has a growing following, and he advertised the protests online in order to draw a crowd. Yet many Russian activists agree that online activism might be useful for mobilization and other tasks, but perhaps less useful for putting pressure on officials. According to the Time article, one political activist and blogger told the crowd of protestors, “The revolution is not made, and the constitution is not defended, on Facebook and Twitter. It is made here on the streets.”