Putin is a Thief. Thousands of Russians, including the well-known Kremlin critic Alexej Navalni, came to the streets of Moscow in the capital against the tightening of internet control. The reason is the blocking of the messaging app Telegram by the Russian authorities, said by Citi News.
According to the police and the authorities, the event attracted 8,000 people, which is relatively much for a meeting organised by the opposition. By way of comparison: in August, only a thousand people showed up for a similar protest against restrictions on the internet.
The demonstrators had banners and signs with messages against the government and Russian flags, and called slogans like “Putin is a thief” or “Do not keep silent”. Paper kites were also thrown into the air, a reference to the logo of the messaging app Telegram, which is blocked in Russia.
During a speech, the famous activist Alexej Navalni thanked Pavel Doerov, the Russian founder of Telegram. “Thank you Pacha Doerov for speaking about resistance. Because showing resistance, that is doing something, that is not keeping silent but speaking, “he said. Doerov, in turn, thanked the participants in the event, ‘a first of its kind’, via the social media network Vkontakte. “Your energy is changing the world,” it sounded.
The messages sent via Telegram are encrypted so that the intelligence services cannot read. The Russian authorities had the app blocked earlier this month, after they had demanded to release the code with which the messages sent could be deciphered.
The app was blocked shortly after the re-election of President Vladimir Putin. During his previous mandate, the President had already considerably strengthened the grip of the authorities on the internet in the name of the fight against terrorism and extremism. According to critics, however, it is a way to control the political debate and to silence critical voices.