Russia’s Putin calls for Web activities of some firms to be monitored

Russian President Putin visits the Military Academy of the Strategic Missile Forces outside Moscow
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) visits the Military Academy of the Strategic Missile Forces, named after Peter the Great, outside Moscow, Russia December 22, 2017. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik via REUTERS

December 25, 2017

MOSCOW (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin said on Monday the Russian authorities should monitor the activity of “some companies” on social media during next year’s presidential election and assess the extent of their involvement in domestic politics.

He did not name the companies or say if he was concerned about the activities of foreign or local firms, but Russia has been accused by the United States and other Western nations of meddling in their elections.

“We need to look carefully at how some companies work in internet, in social media, and how widely they are involved in our domestic political life,” Putin said, speaking at a meeting with leaders in Russia’s parliament about a new “foreign agents” law.

Putin signed a law last month allowing the authorities to designate foreign media outlets as “foreign agents” in response to what Moscow said was unacceptable U.S. pressure on Russian media. Once designated, such firms need to provide details to the authorities on, for example, their sources of funding.

“It should be carefully analyzed how they are operating and will be operating during the presidential election,” he said, but said this should not “narrow the space” for freedom on the Internet.

Russia has already designated Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and Voice of America (VOA), both U.S.-backed organizations, as “foreign agents”.

Polls show Putin, 65, who has dominated Russia’s political landscape for the last 17 years, on course to be comfortably re-elected in March, 2018, making him eligible to serve another six years until 2024, when he turns 72.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was barred on Monday from running in next year’s presidential election after officials ruled he was ineligible to take part due to a suspended prison sentence he says was trumped up.

(Writing by Denis Pinchuk; Editing by Edmund Blair)

  • nfcapitalist

    Why would Russia fear American values when our primary differences are what was seen as a failed marxist theory of communism that is not natural and opposing the evolved theory of capitalism that has been in existence since the earliest homo erectus traded flint hand axes for animal skins… our species seems to be oriented toward order and this should be a focused goal for all of us.

  • iwontell

    HO-HUM

  • JoeAM

    Russia has been doing this for years already. SORM.

  • landy fincannon

    Censoring is coming, globally.