The Russian elections are underway. The ballots will be cast on Sunday. Though expected to win, Valdmir Putin’s United Russia is facing growing opposition at home. There is plenty of critical material about the current government that is easily accessible on the internet. The visibility that the internet provides the common citizens has left its mark.
For example, Golos initiated the Map of Violations project that allowed anyone to upload evidence of election violations. It seems like the internet is become the last bastion of independent news in Russia.
Today, the Russian whistle-blowing radio station Moscow Echo, news reporting slon.ru, blog Livejournal.com, and election monitoring group Golos, said that their sites had crashed after a DDOS (Distributed Denial Of Service) attack. For example, the DDOS attack on the Golos site consisted of 50,000 hits per second by computers attempting to access it. This may have occurred because they reported about voting irregularities by United Russia. Another daily, the Kommersant, was hit when hackers switched its IP address.
The executive director of Golos, Liliya Shibanova, has been quoted saying,
“I believe that nobody but government structures and the FSB is capable of conducting such a campaign.” (The FSB is the successor to the Soviet state’s KGB).”
This belief was supported by Nikolai Senkevich from Echo who quoted,
“Any hacker attack on any resource leads to financial losses, which is essentially the same as stealing”
The United Russia supporters though have also claimed that their web site has been compromised. It was found to be working when checked though. The Russian Premier, Dmitry Medvedev, has dismissed all reports that indicated this election is rigged. He will be stepping down to allow Valdmir Putin to regain the presidency.
The meme “United Russia is the party of crooks and thieves” had a lot of visibility, it was added to the list of United Russia propaganda.
With the Arab spring still simmering, the Russian pre-election story serves to remind our elected representatives about the people. The web truly provides power to the people via the web.