Russia warns of ‘foreign meddling’ after protests

 

 

Russian lawmakers will hold a special session next week to discuss alleged “meddling” by foreign powers after huge protests in Moscow, following a government warning to YouTube.

The speaker of the lower house State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, said on Monday that “facts of meddling in domestic issues in our country” would be debated on August 19.

Russia has accused foreign governments and media of backing the demonstrations, which have seen tens of thousands rally in recent weeks demanding free local elections.

On Sunday, the government’s internet watchdog Roskomnadzor accused Google of “advertising unsanctioned mass actions” on YouTube.

The watchdog pointed to “various structures with YouTube channels” disseminating information about unsanctioned protests.

It said the channels use “advertising instruments” such as “push notifications” to “disrupt elections” and warned Google that Moscow will view inaction on its part as “meddling in Russia’s sovereign elections”.

The rallies, some unsanctioned, have rocked Moscow for the past month, with the largest on Saturday drawing up to 60 000 people.

Protesters are outraged over the exclusion of opposition candidates from Moscow city hall elections next month.

Hundreds of protesters have been arrested including chief Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, whose team runs a YouTube channel and operated a live feed from the protests.

Roskomnadzor has a fraught relationship with global internet platforms and social networks, but its attempts to control them have not been very successful. Although the Telegram messaging service is formally banned, it is still available in the country.

Navalny’s ally Lyubov Sobol, whose petition to run in the election was rejected, called Roskomnadzor’s demands “comical”.

YouTube notifications are alerts sent to users subscribed to a particular channel about new videos.

Russian senator Andrei Klimov on Monday said senators will be also calling in envoys of countries which “attempted to meddle in Russia’s domestic affairs,” news agency Tass reported.

Last week Moscow summoned a representative of the US embassy, saying a “demonstration alert” it sent with details of the protest amounted to “an attempt to intervene” in Russian affairs.

Moscow also criticised German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle for what it said were calls to take part in the rally.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Agency
External source
Advertisting

‘Frustrated’ police resort to force

Regulation uncertainty leaves slap-happy police and soldiers to decide when people should or shouldn’t be allowed on the streets

Mail & Guardian needs your help

Our job is to help give you the information we all need to participate in building this country, while holding those in power to account. But now the power to help us keep doing that is in your hands

Press Releases

New energy mix on the cards

REI4P already has and will continue to yield thousands of employment opportunities

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders