Russian Facebook Blocked Opposition Event PageAdded: Monday, January 12th, 2015
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Russian Facebook has recently blocked a page on the website that invited people to attend a rally in support of a local opposition politician on 15 January – the day that Alexei Navalny, a critic of President Vladimir Putin, will hear the verdict in a controversial embezzlement case, which may result in 10 years of jail sentence.
The local Internet watchdog confirmed that the page was blocked following the order of the general prosecutor, who demanded to limit access to resources calling for an unsanctioned mass event. The order covered social networking groups and therefore was fulfilled by Facebook. The event page, called “Public gathering to discuss the verdict”, was banned when it had more than 12,000 people signed up. Now it opens only via a foreign IP and only for foreign users.
Alexei Navalny, whose leadership role in the opposition based on the years of running a popular anti-corruption blog and on the carefully managed Internet campaigns, publicly criticized Facebook for bending under pressure from the Russian authorities. He claimed that such a move was quite unpleasant and surprising behavior by Facebook. On his personal page, Navalny pointed out that the social network could at least demand a court order to block the page rather than satisfy any demand from the Russian Internet regulator.
In the meantime, a former United States ambassador to Moscow, Michael McFaul, tweeted that the Facebook ban set a precedent and recommended the social network to correct its mistake asap. Meanwhile, the supporters of Navalny signed up to newly created event pages and made some blasting Facebook’s “censorship”. In response, the representatives of the most popular social media website in the world claimed that Facebook was investigating the matter.
Alexei Navalny is a 38-year-old lawyer, who stays accused (together with his brother) of embezzling about half a million dollars when a beauty products company, Yves Rocher Vostok, used their delivery company. However, this case is only one of many the Russian government had brought against Navalny – for example, a previous investigation saw Alexei sentenced to 5 years in prison, though the sentence was later suspended.
Unfortunately, everyone understands that this case is purely about the politics. For some reason, the ruling politicians are trying to get rid of the opposition by any means, and Mr Navalny is not the only victim. A great example would be the current mayor of the 3rd largest Russian city, Yekaterinburg, Eugeny Roizman, who is also investigated by the authorities. Meanwhile, Mr Roizman, the founder of the largest rehab in the region, managed to get elected as a mayor without even being allowed to carry out the electing campaign – simply because people trust him.
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Monday, January 12th, 2015No comments
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