“Feed my cats, and I will stay at home” - thousands of Russians “protest” online
Main sources – BBC and Panorama Rostov-on-Don
Thousands of people have taken part in online rallies and protests in various cities of Russia, demanding either a real state of emergency be declared and thus fight against the coronavirus pandemic – or to lift restrictions and open businesses and restore transport.
“We have nothing to eat!” – the most common slogan.
The most crowded rallies take place in the squares in front of government buildings and municipalities.
This resistance movement is virtual. Everything happens on the Internet in the Yandex.Maps and Yandex.Navigator road maps – Russian analogues of Google maps.
These services are popular in that they can be used not only as navigators. This is also a kind of chat. Particularly stormy correspondence usually occurs between drivers standing together in traffic jams.
Now the option has become particularly significant, which does not require a person to be at some point. You can simply put the tag at some point on the online map – and you can write your comments there.
And a huge stream of comments and protests against the regime of self-isolation began.
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Why are people demanding a formal state of emergency declaration?
No quarantine has been announced in Russian cities. Instead, a “self-isolation regime” was introduced – a concept not accounted for by law.
This was done in order not to pay people and businesses compensation in the case of quarantine.
At the same time, violators of the regime of self-isolation face large fines – up to 1 thousand dollars.
Digital crackdown on online protests
Spontaneous rallies began from Rostov-on-Don. There are hundreds of comments, especially on the “protest” outside the local administration building:
“What is life for those who are left without work ?!”, “Feed my children”, “We want to eat!” There is no work! ”,“ Feed my cats, and I will stay at home! ” They wrote.
But comments quickly disappear. Yandex arranged, as one of the commentators put it, “a digital dispersal of a spontaneous rally.”
As the representative of Yandex.Navigator explained, messages that are not related to the situation on the road or contain a checkmate are always moderated and deleted.
Moreover, the idea of Rostovites was immediately noticed and supported in other Russian cities – Samara, Nizhny Novgorod, Krasnoyarsk, Krasnodar, Belgorod.
In Moscow, the rally began right on Red Square, in front of the Kremlin. After the moderators erased the protest slogans around the Kremlin, users staged a silent “march” along Tverskaya Street.
In St. Petersburg, protesters “gather” in Palace Square.
On April 24, Russia had 62,773 cases and 555 deaths. In Rostov and the Rostov region – 300 cases. The most affected region is Moscow, about 34 thousand infected.