Dmitry Medvedev Facebook message against Russian protesters backfires

The Daily Telegraph

Dmitry Medvedev has been humiliated online after his Facebook page, in which he posted a message denouncing Saturday’s 50,000-strong rally in Moscow, was flooded by protesters criticising the Russian president.

The post, which came on the same day that the controversial head of the elections commission avoided an attempt to remove him, sparked disbelief and disgust and within two hours more than 3,500 people had posted comments, the vast majority overwhelmingly negative.

Mr Medvedev used the Facebook message to announce he had ordered an investigation into violations at the Russian parliamentary elections.

He used the same post however to criticise Saturday’s demonstration – the biggest protest in Russia since the end of the Soviet Union.

“People have the right to express their views which is what they did yesterday,” wrote Mr Medvedev. “I don’t agree with the slogans or the declaration that rang out at the meetings. Nevertheless, instructions have been given by me to check all information from polling stations regarding compliance with the legislation on elections.”

Saturday’s crowds had directed their anger at Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who is expected to become president again in March.

The movement has sprung up spontaneously as mainly young Russians express disgust at what they see as blatant election fraud and a lack of political freedom. Protesters at the demonstration called for the election to be rerun and for Vladimir Churov, the head of the elections commission to be sacked.

Noticeably, many of those taking part were from the Facebook generation, fluent in social media.
Mr Medvedev’s attempts to engage them on Sunday however backfired.

“Go now, shame of the country,” “Dim, are you taking the mick?” and “Your time has gone, everything was decided yesterday, democracy will be created not by you,” were some of the milder comments posted in response to Mr Medvedev’s message.

One commentator pointed to previous investigations launched by Mr Medvedev, such as into the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, and the lack of any concrete result.

The post was the first official response from a visibly nervous Russian government and its misfiring is another sign that the Kremlin is struggling to comprehend a movement which has grown at such speed since 5,000 first came out to protest after the Dec. 4 elections.

It also is unsure how to work out how to battle the movement. Moscow will see another mass street demonstration on Monday when supporters of Mr Putin and Mr Medvedev will gather by the Kremlin.

Thousands of young people, part of Kremlin backed youth groups, will carry, organisers say, banners with slogans such as “We voted. We won” in Russian and “We PUT IN our Votes!” in English but they will be hard put to convince many of their sincerity after the meeting on Saturday.

Russian newspapers regularly report that Kremlin youth groups hire people to take part in events or bus them in from the provinces.

Four hundred nationalists separately rallied in Moscow on Sunday on the one year anniversary of a nationalist riot in the city.

Mr Medvedev’s Facebook gaffe is the second such social networking embarrassment in a week. The Kremlin was earlier forced to apologise after an obscene Twitter message was retweeted from the president’s official account.

The original message, written by an outgoing MP, attacked detractors of the ruling United Russia party as “sheep” who had been subjected to a sex act. The Kremlin said that they were sent out by mistake and that the culprit would be punished.

Last month Mr Medvedev, who has branded himself as a tech innovator, was forced into hiding part of his personal profile on VKontakte, Russia’s equivlanet of Facebook, after he was flooded with insulting ‘virtual’ presents. займы онлайн на карту срочно buy over the counter medicines https://zp-pdl.com/online-payday-loans-in-america.php https://zp-pdl.com/get-quick-online-payday-loan-now.php hairy women

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