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Twitter Bots Drown Out Anti-Kremlin Tweets

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the more-of-the-same dept.

Twitter 125

tsu doh nimh writes "It appears that thousands of Twitter accounts created in advance to blast automated messages are being used to drown out Tweets sent by bloggers and activists this week who are protesting the disputed presidential elections in Russia. Trend Micro first observed on Wednesday the bogus tweets flooding popular hashtags being used by Russians protesting the election and the arrests of hundreds of protesters, including prominent anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny. Today, blogger Brian Krebs posted evidence that thousands of accounts apparently auto-created in mid-2011 were being used to flood more than a dozen hashtags connected to the protests, and appear to be all following each other and one master account, presumably the botnet controller."

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Figures. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38308632)

But seriously, hashtags are ephemeral things. Change it up while someone works on knocking out the C&C and getting the bogus accounts blacklisted.

#OccupyFEMAcamp (2)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38308720)

Coming soon!

Re:Figures. (4, Funny)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38308884)

In Soviet Russia, tag hashes YOU!

Re:Figures. (4, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38309688)

No no, comrade. In Soviet Russia, hash tags YOU!

Funny how the governments and the political chattering class put more importance on twitter than the average person does.

I can't remember the last time I even looked at twitter.

Re:Figures. (2)

Karl Cocknozzle (514413) | more than 2 years ago | (#38310662)

This.

Twitter: Yawn. It's millions of idiots blathering on senselessly. For every pithy, funny, legible tweet, there are half-million messages that are just dreck. I had some fun impersonating a politician on Twitter for a while... but he didn't run for President, and I let it die... Nobody offered me a book deal. ...Not yet, anyway.

Re:Figures. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38311854)

You don't matter.

I wonder (3, Interesting)

jpwilliams (2430348) | more than 2 years ago | (#38308648)

Is Twitter going to be like Switzerland and stay neutral? Also, how well can this tactic work against a critical mass? And what is that critical mass? I can't read Russian, but I imagine it would be pretty easy to pull out fake comments from real comments.

Re:I wonder (5, Insightful)

klingens (147173) | more than 2 years ago | (#38308738)

If it's really a Botnet, then Twitter can't be inactive, or they risk botwars for all kinds of controversial topics in the future. Twitter will then very soon become a wasteland of botnet #topic wars and real humans will leave in droves since they can't get any useful info anymore and Twitter, the company, will crater.
As long as this presumable russian government botnet was not widely known, Twitter could have ignored it since the public didn't know that Twitter was gamed by special interests. Now however, they have to act or rather give the impression of acting. Acting in this case means to stop the Botnet of course, the other still existing botnets won't be affected since they've not been exposed (yet).

Re:I wonder (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38308860)

and Twitter, the company, will crater

And nothing of value will be lost. Serious journalists will just have to spend a few bucks a month hosting their own web sites. The horror!

Re:I wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38309558)

we can only hope

sysadmin fail (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38308660)

There is something fundamentally wrong with any social media that does not autofilter, grade and weight posts based on a metric other than sum (#topic).

In Soviet Russia (2)

tokencode (1952944) | more than 2 years ago | (#38308672)

Twitter tells you what to think.

Seems dumb (2)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 2 years ago | (#38308698)

Why have those accounts all follow each other? It would make exterminating them trivial assuming twitter can be bothered to do so. Just implement any communications on the back end, or using less-obvious forms of communications.

Of course, with all the twitter spam out there it wouldn't surprise me if people just have these networks ready to go all the time and sell them to the highest bidder when the price gets high enough.

Twitter is obsolete in any case.

Re:Seems dumb (2)

AZURERAZOR (472031) | more than 2 years ago | (#38309018)

Follower count for each would make each account look more popular. Follower count is used in some of the third party twitter searches to improve relevance... *fail*

Re:Seems dumb (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38310088)

The controller account is @master_boot. Take it down to score one for free speech.

Re:Seems dumb (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#38313630)

How would that be "scoring one for free speech"? The very act of what this controller is doing is still free speech, regardless of how much you disagree with it. However, it is an internal matter for Twitter to deal with as an abuse of their system.

Re:Seems dumb (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38313684)

I thought someone might say this, but isn't astroturfing inherently anti-free-speech? It's impersonation. The IRL equivalent would be to form a protest with a mob of androids for the purpose of making an unpopular viewpoint seem more popular. I'd argue that one person deceptively impersonating a large group is damaging to free speech.

Offensive Tweeting? (1)

scubamage (727538) | more than 2 years ago | (#38308706)

Somewhere in here there is an angry birds joke.

Re:Offensive Tweeting? (1)

ksd1337 (1029386) | more than 2 years ago | (#38310696)

You forgot to put the ".com" in your signature link.

Re:Offensive Tweeting? (1)

scubamage (727538) | more than 2 years ago | (#38311832)

So there wasnt, thanks for the heads up! :)

I think this makes sense (0)

mwfischer (1919758) | more than 2 years ago | (#38308714)

So you're saying in Soviet Russia bot follows you?

Astroturfing (4, Informative)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38308732)

This is just astroturfing. Pretty much any type of popular forum site is going to have large numbers for accounts that have been set up for astroturfing my third parties.

I recall a while back fark all of sudden got crapflooded by pro-chavez bots. Admins simply need to find astroturfing accounts and delete them. Nothing new here.

Re:Astroturfing (1)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 2 years ago | (#38308872)

The amazing thing is that Twitter became so dominant, despite providing extremely little new, and in no way solving the problems related to spam or DoS attacks like these. As if that wasn't enough, it has uptime unworthy of a top 100 site.

Re:Astroturfing (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 2 years ago | (#38310270)

It's actually pretty ingenious invention for the tl;dr generation.

Re:Astroturfing (1)

mirix (1649853) | more than 2 years ago | (#38310216)

I remember hearing recently that ER has been paying people 15 roubles per pro-ER astroturf post.

Not sure if there is any truth to it, and my russian is too shitty to research.

Re:Astroturfing (1)

mirix (1649853) | more than 2 years ago | (#38310250)

I guess I should have elaborated that ER = United Russia, Putin's party.

sorry for self reply

Re:Astroturfing (1)

21mhz (443080) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312220)

The correct way to refer to it is "the party of crooks and thieves." I don't know if there is an established abbreviation yet.

Re:Astroturfing (1)

JadedIdealist (2057592) | more than 2 years ago | (#38313004)

From now on the POCAT ;)

Re:Astroturfing (1)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 2 years ago | (#38313332)

That should be: ÐÐÐÐÐ (ÐÐÑÑÐÑ ÐÑfÐÐÐоРРÐоÑоР- courtesy of google translate :)

Re:Astroturfing (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312634)

Doesn't really make sense, considering that most young people in the country who are politically active vote UR. Communists are for old people, Zhirinovski is for people who are as stupid as US far right or just plain entertained by him, and everyone else is deeply unpopular.

So all they'd have to do is ask their own youths to troll those opposing. Wouldn't even have to pay.

Re:Astroturfing (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38311982)

Yep, seen it regarding various topics on both Boingboing and Arstechnica. In both cases the accounts will appear, dump a crapload of text and then not be used again until the next time the topic shows up. No attempts at entering a dialog with the commenter will get a response.

Well, I guess that twitter had its 15 minutes... (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38308734)

... of fame as a political force (in Iran).

Not surprised... (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#38308752)

After reading about HBGary Federal's own work in Astroturfing software [dailykos.com] when they were hacked by Anonymous earlier this year I figured that everyone would be getting in on that action. Now that mainstream media doesn't have their death grip on the spread of information (or disinformation), the G-men in black suits standing off camera need to come up with other ways to cloud things.

Trying to cut off the internet completely would just result in the population going apeshit, so now they're utilizing shadier methods that are harder to detect. In reading some of the comments on news stories here in the states over the last year or so, I'm sure there are people doing this here as well. You can only see so many "NOBAMA 2012!!!" posts by people with names like Chuck17359 before you start to wonder if there is actually a human being on the other side.

What happened to Russia? (2, Interesting)

iONiUM (530420) | more than 2 years ago | (#38308774)

I thought they were getting more progressive in the recent years? Is this not the case? It seems like it's just getting closer and closer to another dictatorship and extreme socialism.

Can someone more informed than me on the subject explain what's going on there? None of the sites seem to say more than "Putin is being an asshole."

Re:What happened to Russia? (5, Insightful)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 2 years ago | (#38308836)

There is very little socialist about Russia. It is basically a capitalistic authoritarian kleptocracy with a surging nationalist police state agenda.

Re:What happened to Russia? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38308936)

There is very little socialist about Russia. It is basically a capitalistic authoritarian kleptocracy with a surging nationalist police state agenda.

Or in other words, converging to the same asymptote as the US...

Re:What happened to Russia? (2)

hitmark (640295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312010)

Given that post-soviet Russia was basically guided into much the same shock treatment that Iraq has been going thru in recent years by US economists sent over to "help" a former enemy become capitalist, it should not be a surprise. There is a religion masking as science out of Chicago called neo-classical/monetarist economics that is the source.

Re:What happened to Russia? (2)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#38309112)

1. Russian mafia-government buys the votes with promises of the dole.

2. The only thing 'capitalist' about it is that a limited number of people are making a capital for themselves alright.

3. The mafia-bosses on the top of the political pyramid are making sure that nobody knows or hears about any viable alternatives, the 'Channel 1' is bought and paid for (and the rest of the channels are heavily monitored and censored, maybe even self-censored). Only a small percentage of the country is on the Internet, and it's mainly the younger people. The majority of folks don't know that there are alternatives, that's how successful the mafia-bosses on top are at what they do.

4. The nationalist agenda is just a cover to create a false sense of 'unity'. For example Putin and Medvedev love to talk about USA and other Western nations trying to undermine the Russian government in order to take over and give Russia to some nefarious people.

It's really a mafia-ran state right now.

Re:What happened to Russia? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38309262)

2. The only thing 'capitalist' about it is that a limited number of people are making a capital for themselves alright.

In case you haven't noticed, that's the exact same pattern happening in every capitalist country right now.

Of course, you just handwave all of that pesky "reality" stuff aside, right? GO RON PAUL!!! GO 1%ERS!!!

Re:What happened to Russia? (2)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#38309382)

Nonsense. Ron Paul is the exact opposite of what US government and Russian government represent today - lack of law. Lawlessness on the government level.

The laws must apply to the government just as well as they apply to individuals and the government must not be allowed to do things that individuals cannot do by law.

USA and Russia have similar problems, however what you call '1%' in USA consists of all sorts of people - mostly owners of businesses. Those are the people who actually run the economy. The MAKE the products that everybody wants and they profit in the process.

The problem in USA of-course is that a small number of the very rich (maybe 0.01%) found ways to subvert the law that applies to the government and they found a way to give themselves all sorts of privileges nobody should have.

However OTOH the about 50% found a way to give themselves something they didn't earn in USA as well, and it's paid by the top 50%.

USA has a problem, it's a different problem. USA can in fact return to the Constitution and can again have a government that lives by the law. It's going to be hard, but it does not have to be violent.

In Russia it will likely be violent before it gets better, and the problem with Russia is that since 1917 the working class the real 1% and the top 50% were systematically destroyed by the state, making sure that the population has little initiative by design and cannot imagine how not to be poor, how to work for themselves, how to start and run businesses.

People in Russia are learning this again, but it's a tiny percentage of people who are learning and are successful, and it's all despite the government, not because of it.

Of-course USA had the right idea and since about 1913 it also turned to the wrong side, but it can rediscover the right idea if it wanted to and it would take much less work to do it, because the initiative and self reliance haven't been bred out of people, so there are much fewer mental blocks.

But there are mental blocks, many are created by these false idea that socialism is good for economy and society. It's a false idea and it's slowly failing everywhere today, where it has been implemented.

Re:What happened to Russia? (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38310616)

The problem in USA of-course is that a small number of the very rich (maybe 0.01%) found ways to subvert the law that applies to the government and they found a way to give themselves all sorts of privileges nobody should have.

Useful hint: If there's a multi-trillion dollar pie to divide up, spending a few billion to get a piece of it is a no-brainer.

Which is pretty much what's been happening in the USA for a long time now. All it takes is a look at how much it costs to be President (>$1 billion, in Obama's case) (Or Senator or Representative), and you can pretty much predict who's going to own that particular politician....

Re:What happened to Russia? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38309762)

Of course, you just handwave all of that pesky "reality" stuff aside, right? GO RON PAUL!!! GO 1%ERS!!!

I guess that's the burden of libertarians. They get to be a target for all the idiots out there. Well, we got the society you all wanted and it just so happens to be run by fools and scoundrels.

Re:What happened to Russia? (5, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38309172)

So Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev are sitting in a bathtub . . .

Putin: "Dmitry, which one of us is President today?"

Medvedev: "Which day of the week is it today?"

Putin: "Friday."

Medvedev: "That means that you are President, Vladimir."

Putin: "Ok, that means that you must get out of the tub to fetch us another bottle of vodka from the kitchen."

Re:What happened to Russia? (1)

NightFears (869799) | more than 2 years ago | (#38311204)

"So you'd like to know what party I gave my voice to? That's what I'd like to know, too."

"The Central Elections Commission said in an official statement that it would not allow the voters to fake elections results."

"Putin, accompanied by Gryzlov and Mironov, enters a restaurant.
Waiter: Good day, Vladimir Vladimirovich! What would you like to eat?
Putin: I will have some meat!
Waiter: What about vegetables?
Putin: The vegetables will have the same."

Re:What happened to Russia? (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312646)

That sounded like Bill and Hillary talking, only Bill telling Hillary that since she's the president today, he's going to boink his assistant.

Re:What happened to Russia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38309320)

So, just like the good old US of A, eh?

Re:What happened to Russia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38309396)

There is very little socialist about Russia. It is basically a capitalistic authoritarian kleptocracy with a surging nationalist police state agenda.

So, exactly the same as America then?

Re:What happened to Russia? (1)

FoolishOwl (1698506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38309488)

There are competing definitions of socialism. The one I prefer is democratic management of the economy. By that definition, Russia has never been socialist, and only briefly had some localized experiments with socialism in a few places in 1905 and 1917.

Re:What happened to Russia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38309560)

Sounds oddly familiar to its former enemy.

Re:What happened to Russia? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38309594)

So it's about as socialist as Obama is then?

Re:What happened to Russia? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38308854)

Putin is just going for tzar, nothing new.

Re:What happened to Russia? (5, Insightful)

swb (14022) | more than 2 years ago | (#38308940)

My unvarnished take on it is that when the USSR dissolved, Russia went from a totalitarian socialism to a kind of weak Democratic capitalism, dominated by organized crime and "the oligarchs". Most of the "backbone" Russian institutions like the KGB and the military (in particular) were significantly weakened, and all manner of social ills began to rear their ugly head.

Putin kind of stepped in and with something of an iron fist in a velvet glove began to kind of re-invigorate the institutions of Russia. A number of oligarchs who wouldn't toe his line (whether politically, financially, or both) were essentially stripped of their wealth, imprisoned and some even killed (cf. Kordokovsky, who ran Lukoil, is still in jail and Litvenenko was poisoned with Polonium, although he was ex-KGB/FSB, not an oligarch).

Publicly, Putin sort of created a new "strong" Russian image and with high oil prices was sort of able to create an improved economic climate and tamp down the chaos of Russian civil life.

That being said, Democracy took a back seat if not being reduced to a mere performance. Lots of suppression of the press, the opposition. He moved from President to Prime Minister, appointing a puppet President (they traded jobs in the most recent and probably rigged election).

My guess is that the global economic downturn has taken the shine off of living in his dictatorship (along with the corruption and everyday difficulties).

You would think he would either guide a more democratic transition and fade away to private life, but I think he's going to hold on to power until he gets clipped. I think too much of the top end of Russian politics is run like organized crime for anyone to get on top and stay on top to just say "game over, I'm done".

Re:What happened to Russia? (3, Insightful)

petsounds (593538) | more than 2 years ago | (#38309324)

You're missing a bit there. "Organized crime" IS the KGB. When the KGB was disbanded, those guys no longer had jobs. Some now work for the Russian security forces, but most seem to have gone into the underworld in those chaotic post-USSR years. And let's not forget that Putin is ex-KGB. There's not much difference between the Russian mafia and the Russian government. Similar to America's corporatocracy, but more brutal.

Re:What happened to Russia? (2)

hitmark (640295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312044)

And this has been basically the status quo in Russia since day one. Russian communism basically replaced one despot with another, and even Yeltsin ran the place like some fiefdom.

Re:What happened to Russia? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38309472)

The problem for people in power is that there is no viable democratic transition in sight. If they step down, the most likely replacement today would be some broad leftist/socialist coalition, since that's where popular support is. And one thing these guys have consistently brought up is reviewing Russian privatization of early 90s (which is well known to have had numerous severe process violations), and reviewing economic activities of consequent heads of state. Putin in particular has some recorded participation in pocketing the oil profits, so there's no way he could retire - he'd end up on the court bench within a week.

Re:What happened to Russia? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38309826)

And one thing these guys have consistently brought up is reviewing Russian privatization of early 90s (which is well known to have had numerous severe process violations)

My understanding is that this was a theft of tens of billions of dollars in Russian assets by cronies of Yeltsin. When Putin took over, he seized those assets and transferred them to his cronies. I bet there's a good chance the next government whenever that comes will do much the same. Any relatively honest government is going to get some heat from all the dishonest politicians out there.

Re:What happened to Russia? (2)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38309886)

Yes, that would be a concise but broadly correct summary. The only thing worth noting is that the sets of "Yeltsin's cronies" and "Putin's cronies" partially intersect.

The main hope is that, if the next government comes to power as a result of honest elections - and especially as a result of a vote recount demanded by citizens - they will have to play it more careful than the thugs currently in power, because the viability of kicking them out next elections would have been demonstrated. But then, that's also what Ukrainians hoped in 2004, and they were proven wrong.

Re:What happened to Russia? (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312028)

"Most of the "backbone" Russian institutions like the KGB and the military (in particular) were significantly weakened, and all manner of social ills began to rear their ugly head."

This guided by US economists of the Chicago monetarist school, sent over to "help" turn Russia capitalist.

The same shit was first tried in South America, and is now being applied in the middle east. In all places the overall effect have been very negative for the masses, but highly positive for a small percentage (that you are as likely to find in Miami or Monaco as in their home nation).

Re:What happened to Russia? (5, Insightful)

wickerprints (1094741) | more than 2 years ago | (#38308986)

I thought they were getting more progressive in the recent years? Is this not the case? It seems like it's just getting closer and closer to another dictatorship and extreme socialism.

Extreme socialism? No, that's not correct. Russia is what one would legitimately call a plutocratic oligopoly, where control of the government and economy is tightly confined to those who became extremely wealthy after the disbanding of the Soviet Union opened up economic markets. Once that happened, various well-connected individuals were able to profit immensely from the sale of natural resources (i.e., Russian oil and natural gas) to Europe, and political corruption increased in direct proportion as these individuals leveraged their wealth to gain political influence in a freshly post-Communist country. What happened, basically, was a period of unrestrained capitalism culminating in monopoly power infiltrating a weak political system and the subsequent disenfranchisement of the vast majority of Russian citizens from actual political power. That is not "extreme socialism."

Some might argue that much the same will happen, is happening, or has already happened, in the United States--just with less flagrant violence and impunity, but that is a topic for another thread.

This is why the Communist Party is seeing a revival in Russian politics. Not because the voters actually wish for a return to communism--after all, they know full well what it was like to live under that failed system--but because things have gotten so horrifically bad and obviously corrupt under Putin's effective dictatorship, that a vote for the Communists is basically like giving Putin's party the middle finger.

Re:What happened to Russia? (1)

Lotana (842533) | more than 2 years ago | (#38309844)

where control of the government and economy is tightly confined to those who became extremely wealthy after the disbanding of the Soviet Union opened up economic markets. Once that happened, various well-connected individuals were able to profit immensely from the sale of natural resources (i.e., Russian oil and natural gas) to Europe, and political corruption increased in direct proportion as these individuals leveraged their wealth to gain political influence in a freshly post-Communist country.

I am under an impression that the the massive division of wealth that happened after the dissolution of the Soviet Union happened in a much more quick and simple way. I don't have the in-depth story, but this is the gist of what my friend living in Russia told me. According to him the oligarchs have nearly instantly gained their wealth by gaming the voucher privatization system in the 90s.

In essence, in order to privatize the assets of the former Soviet Union every single person (Including minors) were issued a voucher that granted them a portion of the national wealth. After the finalization of the voucher distribution, I believe the intention was that the people would use them to buy ownership of various formerly government-owned assets like factories. By its look it is an extremely simple and fair system.

Now where the whole thing went wrong is that somehow relatively small portion of population ended up aquiring the majority of vouchers. I am not clear how they done that, but it couldn't of been clean or honest. My guess is that simple, worker folk did not understand the value of the vouchers and sold them off for trivial ammounts. Perhaps there are some russians on Slashdot that could give us a full story on how they accomplished that.

Re:What happened to Russia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38311108)

Now where the whole thing went wrong is that somehow relatively small portion of population ended up aquiring the majority of vouchers. I am not clear how they done that, but it couldn't of been clean or honest. My guess is that simple, worker folk did not understand the value of the vouchers and sold them off for trivial ammounts. Perhaps there are some russians on Slashdot that could give us a full story on how they accomplished that.

"Where whole thing went wrong" was by design - the same people who brought us derivatives and the housing bubble designed the "economic transition" of the USSR post-communism, and once again those expert talking heads couldn't see a simple basic truth that was right in front of their faces. Massive cost of living increases hit Russia in the months following the end of communism and the average people had nothing to eat but they had these wonderful pieces of paper from the government that kindly mob gentlemen bought up for pennies on the dollar, because hey it's better than starving to death.

TL;DR: The "economic experts" from the USA created the Russian oligarchy. Much the same as the American oligarchy now that I think about it..

Re:What happened to Russia? (1)

Mojo66 (1131579) | more than 2 years ago | (#38309466)

The Twitter revolutions started off in totalitarian countries and are now slowly progressing towards more open countries. It's just a matter of time until so called 'democratic' countries like the US or Europe are affected.

--

"In the 1980s capitalism triumphed over communism. In the 1990s it triumphed over democracy." --David Korten

Re:What happened to Russia? (2)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 2 years ago | (#38310180)

Classic Friedmannite failure. Post Soviet Union, the Free Marketeers went in and got them to follow the IMF/WTO playbook on "developing" a nation. That entails cutting taxes on the rich, eliminating social commitments, and selling off government assets. You end up with a wealth transfer to the top, and government with only one tool in its toolkit (the military) to deal with domestic strife, organized crime where government no longer can protect the people, and a whole lot of mega-rich bureaucrats who took the bribes to sell of government assets at cut-rate prices.

Re:What happened to Russia? (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#38310346)

It's only given a surface impression of change. But essentially they changed socialism for capitalism but left in place all the cronies and the one-party system. Putin has always been an asshole, but he's been a popular asshole for a long time. He has a very large following who are only too happy to shout down the opposition. Corruption in the party is very evident but it seems to not stick so much to Putin until now, and even now not very much actually sticks. Almost all the media is state run media and there's a tight clampdown on any negative coverage of Putin. Putin is like the capitalist version of Chavez.

I think there's a large Russian contingent who just likes having the strong authoritarian ruler, especially since the Yeltsin era was so chaotic. There is essentially no sizeable opposition and no other national leader figure so Putin stays in power despite everyone hating his party.

As for the Twitters, this sounds just like more of the same from The Putin Youth.

Re:What happened to Russia? (2, Insightful)

mirix (1649853) | more than 2 years ago | (#38310352)

Do you know what Socialism is? It's not what Putin is after, and it's not the boogeyman either.

I'll give you dictatorship though. Seems some folk (particularly Americans) have some sort of mix-up between authoritarianism and socialism.

Those poor Scandinavians, living under their evil totalitarian socialist regimes... better liberate them.

Re:What happened to Russia? (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312070)

Why liberate when one browbeat into obedience? Sadly a lot of the old guard on the Norwegian left considered it repaying a debt to dance to the US flute in international politics, a debt from WW2 and the Marshall plan.

And now a rising right have some elements that are avowed Randian libertarians, pushing populist promises and islamic fearmongering for all it is worth. to paraphrase the supposed Chinese proverb, there be interesting times ahead...

Re:What happened to Russia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38312824)

Russia's one of the few states left where supreme rulers are not all puppets. And it was a complex amalgam of sociological pressures even before the capitalist revolution:

Winston Churchill 1939:

"I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest."

So are you saying I shouldn't have friended them? (0, Offtopic)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 2 years ago | (#38308796)

Come on, everyone wants lots of Russian friends on both Twitter and Facebook!

But us calling them a dictatorship?

Please, have you looked in the mirror lately?

False equivalence lately? (5, Insightful)

jensend (71114) | more than 2 years ago | (#38309150)

*Sigh* here we go again with the false equivalence squad.

If you can't see why your "hurr durr so is amerikuh" statement is a bunch of crap, let's make the following deal: I'll go stand in an anti-government protest here in the States, and you go stand in Red Square with those protesting Putin's latest power grab.

If we're lucky, you'll be able to write letters from prison telling us how it went.

Re:False equivalence lately? (-1, Troll)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 2 years ago | (#38309272)

*Sigh* here we go again with the false equivalence squad.

If you can't see why your "hurr durr so is amerikuh" statement is a bunch of crap, let's make the following deal: I'll go stand in an anti-government protest here in the States, and you go stand in Red Square with those protesting Putin's latest power grab.

If we're lucky, you'll be able to write letters from prison telling us how it went.

Unlike you, I actually served. Mostly here.

After you, Gaston.

They used to require us to do pre and post briefings before we traveled to places like Russia, if we held clearances, which I did.

So, you can man up when you want. I'll still be here, having done more than you probably ever will.

Re:False equivalence lately? (4, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38309736)

What the hell does your dick-waving have to do with the fact that you are indeed comparing apples and oranges? Yes, the US isn't the shining beacon of hope, freedom and liberty it thinks it is. But it is still a very, very far cry from the autocratic and kleptocratic country that is Russia. Comparing the two and implying that the US is somehow on the same level of government mismanagement, anarchy and oligarchic abuses of power makes me think you haven't spent enough time in Russia.

so (2)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312254)

Yes, the US isn't the shining beacon of hope, freedom and liberty it thinks it is. But it is still a very, very far cry from the autocratic and kleptocratic country that is Russia.

is that why police departments all over usa had beaten down occupy protesters in a move coordinated by FBI ?

http://www.examiner.com/top-news-in-minneapolis/were-occupy-crackdowns-aided-by-federal-law-enforcement-agencies [examiner.com]

talk about democracy.

Re:False equivalence lately? (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 2 years ago | (#38310654)

Nice dodge. How about a direct question:

Who would be more likely to be thrown in jail:

* Guy in DC with "Obama is Hitler" photo
* Guy in Moscow with "Putin is Hitler" photo

I'd love for a discussion of "Country X is doing some messed up shit!" without "Fuck you America sucks too!" always thrown in there. Who cares? America sucks, big deal, lets talk about Russia.

Re:False equivalence lately? (1)

andre1s (1688402) | more than 2 years ago | (#38311960)

Seams the way the Occupy wall street was dealt with is almost on par with how Russia handles such situations. If you carefully compare US and Russia the only metric where US would clearly be in better situation - level and openness of corruption

Re:False equivalence lately? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38312964)

Look everybody! I don't have the slightest fucking idea what the hell I'm talking about.

FTFY

hahahahahaha (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312248)

I'll go stand in an anti-government protest here in the States, and you go stand in Red Square with those protesting Putin's latest power grab.

the moment your protest becomes something noticeable you will be beat down by **PD just like how it happened with ows. and as long as your protest is a dozen guys with placards daily picketing some place, they wont give a damn about you.

in russia, they will instantly take you seriously and beat you down.

the only difference in between these cases, is the speed the beatdown happens. and the level you are taken seriously.

Re:So are you saying I shouldn't have friended the (2)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38309322)

But us calling them a dictatorship? Please, have you looked in the mirror lately?

Have you looked at the videos documenting widespread electoral fraud?

It's an open question whether U.S. has free elections or not, but I'm pretty confident that one thing that you don't have in your election is things like ballot boxes pre-stuffed with ballots with the "right" vote marked already. Or, even more bluntly, counting the ballots, and then changing the numbers in the protocol before it is submitted (and kicking out any observers that protest or try to photo it).

Re:So are you saying I shouldn't have friended the (1, Interesting)

makomk (752139) | more than 2 years ago | (#38309458)

It's an open question whether U.S. has free elections or not, but I'm pretty confident that one thing that you don't have in your election is things like ballot boxes pre-stuffed with ballots with the "right" vote marked already.

From what I've heard lot of the US doesn't even have ballot boxes any more. It's all done on electronic voting systems created by friends of one of the two parties, with massive security holes and some well-hidden backdoors suited to vote rigging.

Reverse Effect (4, Interesting)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 2 years ago | (#38308832)

This will ensure the hashtags make it to trending topics. If the hashtags in question are something like #FuckingLiarPutin, doesn't really matter what they add to it. Let's hope the hashtags themselves say enough, like Jeff Jarvis' #fuckyouwashington that went viral quickly.

632305222316434? (1)

alhague (127665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38308898)

Who can explain what this 632305222316434 thing is about? It tells: "Everyone who disagrees with criminal behaviour of Russian president, government and all those rascals, must do that." but what does it mean?

Re:632305222316434? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38312898)

It means nothing, it's only a silly scheme to count protesters. See http://yoush.homelinux.org:8079/tech/632305222316434/comment-page-1#comment-4549 [homelinux.org]

I guess this is what kind of tactics have to be taken in Soviet Russia to protest elections. At least they still do that in the East unlike we...

Wow. way too democratic. (-1, Flamebait)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38308944)

Russia, going to that extent to repress ? They could have just beat down protesters like how u.s. police forces across the country did with FBI coordination.

Terms of Service Enforcement? (3, Insightful)

El Fantasmo (1057616) | more than 2 years ago | (#38308968)

Aren't situations like this when Twitter should, at the very least, temporarily suspend the obvious, automated "spam" accounts? All they need to do is quote some vague line in their "terms of service," which I haven't seen (I don't have a twitter account) but I would be surprised if it doesn't exist.

Re:Terms of Service Enforcement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38310646)

Twitter is looking into it.
--A Twitter Anonymous Coward, not speaking officially by any stretch of the imagination.

Re:Terms of Service Enforcement? (1)

uglybugger (1188791) | more than 2 years ago | (#38313428)

Twitter is looking into it? Wow. I'm overwhelmed.

I've been at several conferences recently at which Twitter was being used as a live back-channel for the presentations. Obvious spam-bots flooded the hashtags so we turned it off. Now, I don't even bother :(

Seriously, what sort of sample size does Twitter need to develop some algorithms?

Twitblock already does this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38311902)

Aren't situations like this when Twitter should, at the very least, temporarily suspend the obvious, automated "spam" accounts? All they need to do is quote some vague line in their "terms of service," which I haven't seen (I don't have a twitter account) but I would be surprised if it doesn't exist.

Someone already thought of a spam blocker [twitblock.org] for twitter:

Oh my, (1)

M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | more than 2 years ago | (#38309044)

This is a very strong bad sign for where Russia is heading, this is bad , too bad to be true, also means they were already expecting this, and they prepared, they prepared to hold the country to the Czars and not the people. Future does not look bright in Soviet Russia.

Re:Oh my, (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38309196)

They won elections, people recognize how they deal with what is against their national interests. The opposition is probably financed and organized by powerful sided who don't like the strong leadership of a country that's a nuclear superpower.

Re:Oh my, (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38309340)

Oh, look, we've got some bots on Slashdot, too.

Pray tell, if they won the elections, why all the fraud with the votes?

Re:Oh my, (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 2 years ago | (#38313054)

Probably out of habit ;-)

Re:Oh my, (1)

Lotana (842533) | more than 2 years ago | (#38310486)

Future does not look bright in Soviet Russia.

Of course the future doesn't look bright. Because Soviet Russia doesn't exist and haven't existed since 1991!

20 years is not such a short time. Try to keep up.

Just another little bit of history repeating (1)

photonyx (2507666) | more than 2 years ago | (#38309192)

Looks like /. already covered [slashdot.org] that. Oh, wait, that was 4 years ago...

This [lleo.me] is a good (albeit somewhat rudimentary) explanation of a clear indication of the elections being rigged. The first graph shows the histogram of the % of the votes for different parties vs. the number of the voting locations that registered that figure. Under standard circumstances the curves should be close to normal (Gaussian) distribution. Different curves correspond to different parties; the presidential party is brown. All of the curves exhibit a clear bell-shaped behavior, except for the brown one, which has the obnoxious right tail and artificial peaks at nice-looking values (50 to 100% with a step of 5). This means that according to lots of voting locations, exactly 55, 60, 65, ... 100% of voters voted for the presidential party. This can only be achieved by injection of fake ballots and/or stealing the votes.

Re:Just another little bit of history repeating (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#38311392)

When population sees the incumbent as the "default" choice that loses popularity and opposition is weak, incumbent's distribution will have an upside down "protest vote" component. The rest of parties closely reflect ideological relationships -- randroid extremist Yabloko (green line) is almost universally hated, clowns from Liberal-Democratic Party (black) and major Socialist opposition A Just Russia (blue) share relatively low popularity but not bad enough to be irrelevant, Communists (red) is a somewhat popular and typical protest vote choice because they, despite their name, do not promote anything fundamentally incompatible with proclaimed goals of United Russia (brown).

bots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38310290)

Why has not twitter killed the master account?

Correction (4, Informative)

slonik (108174) | more than 2 years ago | (#38310778)

... Tweets sent by bloggers and activists this week who are protesting the disputed presidential elections in Russia.

It was Russian parliament elections. Presidential elections are in March 2012.

Re:Correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38311072)

What?!? I had to get down here until I see someone else noticed that? Many folks above are projecting what they think is happening there, to what they think is happening here...and both are wrong :(

Re:Correction (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38313242)

technically I think that Putin the wrestler needs parliament to enable him to run for presidency though?
which might explain the rabid cheating this time around.

you know what's really sad about it? a lot of the people doing fraud in the voting process probably think they're doing Russia a favor since Putin is god.

but yeah, the same article will run next year again.

Is that you Peggy? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38311216)

#peggy

LOL (1)

redwraith94 (1311731) | more than 2 years ago | (#38311304)

I don't even have a twitter account lol @ a nation-state-sponsored-twitter-terrorism.
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