by Sarah Hurst
In a video published today Alexei Navalny has ridiculed Russian authorities for desperately trying to ban his investigation into Oleg Deripaska’s yacht voyage to Norway with escort Nastya Rybka and Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodko. “It turns out that oligarch Deripaska has not just a pocket court, but an entire pocket town,” Navalny said, referring to Deripaska’s childhood home town of Ust-Labinsk in Krasnodar Krai, whose court has issued rulings demanding the removal of media reports about Navalny’s Deripaska story.
Media outlets including Mediazona and Radio Svoboda have already received demands from Russia’s “media watchdog” Roskomnadzor to delete reports about the Deripaska story and images of Deripaska on his yacht with Prikhodko. Roskomnadzor today also threatened that Instagram and YouTube would be blocked in Russia if they didn’t remove Navalny’s materials by February 14. The agency has made similar threats before and not followed through on them, as such sweeping censorship of popular social media outlets would probably cause significant backlash.
Navalny’s video about Deripaska now has almost 4 million views on YouTube thanks to the publicity it has been getting. But his team has received a letter from YouTube saying: “YouTube has received a claim from [Roskomnadzor]… that the following content violates the Russian Law #149-FZ on information technology and information protection… If you do not remove the content, Google may be required to block it. Kind Regards, The YouTube Team.” The letter links to Navalny’s weekly live broadcast from February 8, in which he referred to Rybka’s claim that she was gang-raped on Deripaska’s yacht – which she quickly retracted, saying it had been a “joke”.
Categories: Campaign diary