Russian censors are shutting down social networking web pages that support Alexei Navalny, the contentious opposition leader and anti-Putin demonstrator who stands accused of corruption. Reuters reports:
A colleague at Navalny’s Rospil project, which investigates high-level corruption, said on Monday watchdog Roskomnadzor asked Facebook on Saturday to block a page announcing the protest at Moscow’s Manezh Square, near the Krelmin, on Jan. 15.“24 hours after I set up the page, Facebook blocked the event,” Leonid Volkov wrote on the Rospil website. “Facebook did it at Roskomnadzor’s request.” …A former employee of Russia’s most popular social networking site, Vkontakte, said Roskomnadzor also sent 53 requests to it to block pages late on Sunday.
As we recently wrote, Navalny is not exactly the perfect candidate for a liberal, Western-friendly alternative to Putin. But his trial is fundamentally political, and it seems the Kremlin, which typically regulates and censors television much more than internet use, has no intention of letting it become a rallying point for organized public unrest.