Russia bloggers hail success of 'Facebook rally'

6th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russian bloggers on Tuesday hailed the success of an unprecedented rally where thousands of people demonstrated against polls won by Vladimir Putin's ruling party and warned of more protests to come.

Thousands of people braved the freezing rain late Monday to show their frustrations with Sunday legislative elections that handed a narrow victory to Putin's ruling party United Russia despite claims of widespread fraud.

"The Facebook revolution," said the private Dozhd (Rain) television that broadcasts mainly through the Internet and was one of the few Russian channels broadcasters to closely follow the protests.

"Nothing like this has ever happened before," journalist Sergei Parkhomenko told the website.

"This all started with a few posts on Facebook and (blogging platform) LiveJournal."

Those detained in Monday's protest included the whistleblower Alexei Navalny -- a growing Internet celebrity whose arrest was confirmed by his wife on his blog and quickly drew more than 2,500 comments.

"So where are we gathering tomorrow?" one blogger demanded -- a comment that sparked its own discussion.

The website soon reported that the next rally against Putin was being organised on Tuesday at 7:00 pm (1500 GMT).

"The most important outcome of yesterday's rally is that it not only drew people who usually come out to such events, but also those who never attend them," wrote LiveJournal's most followed Russian blogger drugoi (other).

"That is what people in the crowd were saying -- we are not for your Solidarity (opposition movement), we are against Putin and his United Russia."

One popular photo making the rounds showed a broadly grinning President Dmitry Medvedev shaking hands with the bearded head of the Russian election commission Vladimir Churov.

"Thank you grandpa for the victory!" read the caption in a play on a famous Russian poster honouring World War II veterans.

Even a message from Medvedev thanking Russians for their support drew insults on his official Twitter account.

"What support? No one supported you ... except for Churov and his magic maths," wrote opposition blogger Roman Dobrokhotov. "Are you not ashamed?" wrote another blogger.

© 2011 AFP

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