Andrey Klimov, a member of Russia’s Federation Council, said that “foreign forces” used YouTube videos to provoke Russian citizens to protest unlawfully in Moscow on August 10.
The commission for the protection of sovereignty that Klimov leads supposedly received information that “a large number of citizens received information that they did not ask for, from sources that they were not subscribed to”. He claims that the information was “incendiary” in nature and incited citizens to act unlawfully, specifically by moving beyond Sakharov Square (where the rally had been approved), and to proceed towards the presidential administration.
“The resource which it came from is known to belong to the Americans,” Klimov observed.
The Russian politician said that the information was distributed by the US embassy in Russia, the Voice of America, and various YouTube channels. “They wrote that first there would be a sanctioned protest, and then, most likely, an unsanctioned one. They discussed where they would proceed to. Our oppositionists either took this scenario from them, or they themselves suggested it,” the Russian senator remarked.
In light of what Klimov said, Russia’s federal media watchdog, RosKomNadzor, asked Google to “stop using YouTube to advertise illegal mass protests”.
According to RosKomNadzor, “a number of organizations that have YouTube channels acquire advertising instruments for their video hosting, such as push notifications, in order to distribute information about illegal mass protests”, including protests intended to disrupt Russia’s elections.
If Google does not take adequate measures to prevent a repeat of this, it will be considered “interference with the sovereign affairs of the state and a hostile influencing and impeding of the holding of democratic elections”.
On August 10, Moscow saw its largest protest in eight years. The protest was approved by the authorities and was peaceful, but after it ended, some of the protesters headed for the presidential administration building, where 256 people were arrested.