“Russia’s parliamentary majority party, United Russia, has dismissed as provocation a report that it hired PR specialists and bloggers to discredit popular anti-corruption campaigner Aleksei Navalny.
The report about United Russia’s alleged activities appeared in the Monday edition of the Novaya Gazeta newspaper. The article quoted a source in a “large Moscow advertising agency” as saying that his company received a contract from a top member of the United Russia party to start a smear campaign against Aleksei Navalny – a popular and high-profile activist who combines fighting corruption, greenmailing Russian corporations and relentless criticism of United Russia and its members. The newspaper said that the agency’s budget for the campaign amounted to 10 million roubles (about $300,000) and that the plan that appeared in the course of Friday’s brainstorm included shooting fake videos using a Navalny lookalike and distributing them on the Russian blogosphere.”
To read more, check out the RT article here.
It appears that the Russian opposition movement has switched its tactics from the national level to a grassroots outreach in generating support for political change.
From Voice of America:
“The arrival of Navalny and other leaders from Moscow is part of a new opposition strategy to take the fight for clean government to Russia’s regions. Next month, Vladimir Putin is to be inaugurated for a presidential term that is to stretch to 2018.
By taking their fight local, opposition forces have won three big city mayoral races in the past five weeks.
Pavel Felgenhauer is a Moscow political analyst.
‘Despite Putin’s landslide victory in presidential elections last March 4, the opposition movement in Russia is not dead and will continue,’ said Felgenhauer.”
To read more, check out James Brooke’s article on VOA.
Vladimir Putin, the man who will become Russia’s president for a third term next month, indicated Wednesday he would back a law that bars others from doing what he did, ruling as president more than twice.
But Putin also suggested such a law would not apply to himself, leaving open the possibility that he could run for a fourth presidential term in 2018.
Vladimir Putin’s return to the Russian presidency represents much more than a setback for the country’s protest movement. It is a major defeat.
To understand why, consider the sudden celebrity of Irina Prokhorova, billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov’s older sister.
Before this month’s elections, she acted as her brother’s proxy in a presidential debate against the charismatic and Oscar-winning film mogul Nikita Mikhalkov, who was standing in for Putin. With a few well-placed phrases, the calm, well- educated Prokhorova dismantled Mikhalkov’s arguments so thoroughly that he ended up offering her his vote.
Commentators parroted the director’s praise, building her up as a presidential candidate in her own right and calling her Russia’s answer to Angela Merkel. Never mind that Prokhorova, a publisher of high-brow literature who also manages her brother’s charitable initiatives, has no political platform, and no desire or particular qualifications to run the country.