Bloggers accused American video hosting platform YouTube of pro-opposition political censorship in covering strife in Moscow. This is not the first time when the actions of the portal administration are the part of the US global plan to interfere into Russian Internal Affairs.
In August 3, blogger Alexey Navalny and employees of his so-called the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) organized riots in the center of Moscow. To do this, the blogger used all his media resources, including YouTube video hosting platform, for illegal anti-Russian campaigning.
However, the active calls on the participation in the unlawful actions did not find such a wide response among the residents of the capital as they wanted in FBK. About 1,500 people took part in the rallies, but almost all of them were extremely aggressive – the police had to detain more than 600 “walkers,” some of them carrying hammers, kitchen knives, gas cans and even traumatic pistols.
“Peaceful protesters” demanded access to the Election of Deputies of the State Duma for “independent candidates” outside the law. The most active of these nominees are directly financially dependent on Alexey Navalny. Lyubov Sobol and Ivan Zhdanov work at FBK, and Vladimir Milov leads the program on the YouTube channel “Navalny LIVE”. It is the American video hosting that provides them with significant support in coverage and calls for participation in unlawful actions.
In any event, the failed actions have clearly demonstrated that they are coordinated not only by the direct organizers, but also by outside forces. So, the aforementioned YouTube video hosting, owned by the American corporation Google, allowed only “right” bloggers and journalists openly supporting Navalny and his nominees to broadcast online from the actions. At the same time, direct online broadcasts of journalists Ilias Mercury and Lesia Ryabtseva had been blocked even before the broadcast began.
This is not the first such an incident. In September 2018, YouTube, under the guise of advertising, began to impose Navalny’s propaganda videos on Russian-speaking users. In them, the blogger urged people to participate in their actions on September 9th. It is important that a Single Voting Day was set for this date in Russia. The CEC and the Prosecutor General’s Office considered agitation spreading through video hosting as a violation of the law. However, agitation is prohibited on the day of voting and the day before it starts, as well as agitation political actions.
YouTube deleted the advertisement for the unlawful action only after the prosecutor’s request was sent to the Google headquarters. The Russian side considered such the actions of video hosting as the interference into the electoral system.
Nevertheless, with the approach of a Single Voting Day in 2019, YouTube has returned to its old ways and recommends users to record live broadcasts from illegal rallies, even if the user is watching a cartoon at that moment.
US INTERFERENCES IN RUSSIAN ELECTIONS SINCE 1996
In February 2018, Andrey Manoilo, doctor of political Sciences, Professor at the Department of Russian politics, published a report entitled “US Interference in the Russian Elections from 1996 to 2018”, from which it appeared that the Google and YouTube actions are not the first time the US government interference in Russian Internal Affairs, but only a new way of influence.
For example, in 1996, the US political strategists openly worked at the Boris Yeltsin campaign headquarters. It was definitely they who create the famous slogan of his campaign “Vote or Lose.” In those years, the work of American experts was considered as fraternal assistance to young Russian democracy. But it quickly revealed that Washington was exclusively interested in promoting its own interests, after which they began to get rid of “fraternal assistance” everywhere.
Since 2008, the U.S. has moved to principally another practice – an attempt to discredit the whole Russian electoral system and organize the “color revolution” by the forces of the so-called “unsystematic opposition”. For this, the Network of NGOs began creating in Russia with the help of foreign funding, into which local activists were recruited. Those, in turn, began the search for supporters and their organization through social networks.
According to Manoilo’s report, the Americans influence on major Russian officials, politicians and businessmen continued in parallel. However, they did not looked for allies, but defamation.
From the outside, Washington used the sanction war against Russian political and business elites, and from the inside, paid bloggers published their pseudo-investigations. Thus, nowadays, Alexey Navalny continues to spread fake videos through YouTube, discrediting objectionable Russian citizens to the Americans.
A NEW TOOL IN THE FIGHT AGAINST RUSSIA
Analogically, coups d’état were organized in the era of the so-called “Arab spring”. Then, Twitter and Facebook were used for recruitment and coordination. However, in Russia they did not gain proper popularity among both users and bloggers, that cannot be said about YouTube – in 2017, 63% of the Russians used it, and since then their number has only grown.
Today, YouTube is one of the most popular platforms among Russian youth. In age groups from 12 to 35 years, video hosting is ahead of many Russian TV channels according to the audience. At the same time, the youth is the main consumer of the YouTube content – 28-34%.
Considering the fact that it is definitely the youth that is the driving force behind all the “color revolutions”, it is not surprising that YouTube became Washington’s new tool for interfering in Russia’s Internal Affairs. As it mentioned earlier, the video hosting administration, at its discretion, gives the “right” and “wrong” bloggers broadcasts, advertises illegal agitating videos and spreads calls for riots in Russia.
It is still unknown whether the Prosecutor General’s appeal will be sent to the Google leadership in connection with the revealed censorship facts, as it was in 2018, but it is already clearly visible that YouTube is not an independent platform, but promotes the interests of well-defined customers.
Natalia Veselnitskaya – official website