This YouTube video, according to a Russian blogger who shot it and posted it online, shows a deputy chairman of one of the polling places in Moscow, a member of United Russia party, stealing the ballots at the end of the voting day without following the procedure for the vote count and registering the official results.
Shot during Russian elections last Sunday, this video is one of many examples of alleged election fraud that went viral, and started anti-government protests in Russia. All week crowd-sourced internet television, bloggers, Twitterers, youtubers and facebookers share information about upcoming protests, photos, videos, capturing mass arrests during the two-day rally in Moscow that followed the election results, showing to the world heavily armed riot police with water cannons. More Russian mass protests against the election results are scheduled for this Saturday: up to 30,000 people are allowed to gather in Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square, and 11 other cities in Russia also received official permits. The internet seems to be exploding from the information exchange and attempts to organize demonstrations and to warn about possible provocations.
The wave of twitter revolutions last year swept over Egypt, Tunis, and Iran, and now has finally reached Russia. Fighting against oppressive regime of Putin’s “managed democracy” with twitter and social networking sites seems like an appropriate thing to do in today’s technological world, where citizen journalism flourishes. In the Middle East social media was a big part of the revolutionary awakening during the so-called “Arab Spring”. Could that be the same thing is happening in Russia?
This week, after people around the world witnessed what seems to be evidence of massive electoral fraud that helped Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party win 49% of the seats in Duma, Russia’s lower house of Parliament, The head of Central Election Committee, Vladimir Churov, publicly accused Russia’s citizens of faking electoral fraud videos and flooding the internet with innuendo in order to sabotage an honest Parliamentary elections.
While it’s possible that one of the opposition parties — such as LDPR, Yabloko, or the Communist Party — has fabricated some videos of stuffed ballot boxes and produced them at home studios, it is also possible that all of the pictures, videos, blogposts that expressing great frustration, are authentic, and Russians have documented real electoral fraud.
As a result, the conversation has begun and the international community, long skeptical of Russia’s para-democracy, including an alleged Kremlin-controlled media, is now talking. Mikhail Gorbachev, a former Soviet General Secretary, lately very critical of Putin’s government, called for new elections. This outburst of citizen journalism, has brought out the people’s anger and unhappiness, suppressed over the past twelve years of Putin’s government. It seems like Russia doesn’t desire Putin as much as he would like it to appear.