April 23, 2009
Raucous Bloggers Needle Medvedev on New Site
By Nabi Abdullaev / The Moscow Times
Minutes after President Dmitry Medvedev's new LiveJournal blog was opened for comments Wednesday morning, visitors flooded the forum with bawdy comments, complaints over expensive Internet tariffs, praise and criticism of the head of state.
The inaugural comment on Medvedev's new web project came at 8:53 a.m. Wednesday from a married couple, using the LiveJournal nickname "yulala_borka," who cautiously inquired about the boundaries for comments on the blog.
"Any of us can write what we want, and nothing will happen to us for this?" the couple asked.
Only a few hours later did a visitor contribute a slightly vulgar phrase -- "Pervy Nakh" -- typically used by RuNet bloggers to boast about being the first to write comments on a given post.
The post appeared to have been deleted later by the team of moderators charged with keeping Medvedev's new blog family friendly.
But there were plenty more rough comments to test the patience of the blog's moderators on Wednesday. "Dimon, f---in' a!" one visitor wrote.
Another blogger, using the nickname "aligofren" and with a profile picture featuring Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in a Nazi uniform, suggested that Medvedev contact him via the instant messaging system ICQ to arrange a drinking bout. "Dimon, hit me up on ICQ, let's go get drunk," aligofren wrote.
As of early Wednesday evening, there were 1,250 comments on Medvedev's blog.
Medvedev, who publicly plays up his Internet savvy, launched the project Tuesday on the blogging site LiveJournal, home to the most raucous, obscene and politically active community in the Russian blogosphere.
On Wednesday, he posted his first video address on the site, saying the top IT priority for the government is to provide citizens with equal, reasonably priced and high-quality Internet access.
Medvedev last year opened a "video blog" on the Kremlin web site.
An official in Medvedev's administration responsible for the blog told The Moscow Times on Wednesday that the moderators, including himself, were working "nonstop" to filter out comments that violate the blog's rules, which prohibit obscenities and call for coherent language.
"We don't have to block that many comments," he said on condition of anonymity, citing Kremlin policy.
Medvedev's blog was created not as a personal LiveJournal account but rather as a community, which allows moderators to filter comments before they are posted.
One blogger asked Medvedev if he knows when Russian presidents will be popularly elected -- an apparent ironic dig at Putin's backing of Medvedev as his successor.
Another blogger immediately joked then that the Internet "is not a place for discussion," employing a famous remark made by State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov about the parliament.
A user with the nickname "venik_steb" suggested that Medvedev's new blog would contribute to a wide-scale drop in worker productivity.
"Now you see, Dmitry, that the nation is not working, the nation is sitting and chattering in LiveJournal," venik_steb wrote.