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Russians Don't Care for Bloggers, Approve of Bloggers’ Law

Alexey Navalny and Dmitry Medvedev are still the most popular bloggers, but RuNet users don't think too highly of them. Images mixed by author.

Alexey Navalny and Dmitry Medvedev are still the most popular bloggers, but RuNet users don't think too highly of them. Images mixed by author.

Russians are mostly unaware of the new bloggers’ law, and those who do know about it think it's a good idea, a new public opinion poll has found.

In the Internet-themed part of a larger survey, FOM (Public Opinion Foundation) asked Russians about their attitudes to bloggers and social networks. While the term “blogger” is familiar to most Russians (48% of the general population and 73% of active Internet users), they mostly don't think of those blogging online very highly. The predominant opinion is that bloggers do both harm and good—so say almost a quarter of those familiar with the notion. Alexey Navalny, PM Dmitry Medvedev, and design guru Artemy Lebedev remain among the most popular bloggers in Russia.

Odnoklassniki & Vkontakte are far and away the most popular social networks in Russia (see chart), with Facebook in Twitter in the top 5, but lagging behind. LiveJournal, the refuge of politically minded bloggers, only has a tiny percentage of the overall social media audience.

Social network preferences among Russian Internet users. Screenshot courtesy of fom.ru.

Social network preferences among Russian Internet users. Screenshot courtesy of fom.ru.

FOM also asked Russians what they know about the new bloggers’ law, which came into power on August 1, 2014. Over half of the people surveyed had never heard of the law, and others knew very little about it. Of those who'd heard of the law, the majority thought it was a good idea, since bloggers should be responsible for what they publish. Facebook and Twitter users were more likely to have a negative opinion of the bloggers’ law than users of other social networks. Some of the people who considered the new regulations a negative development said they represented a violation of freedom of speech and human rights.

The recent efforts of the Kremlin to crack down on Internet users in Russia have caused alarm among the independent media and active netizens, but it seems most Russians are blissfully unaware of the dangers these new regulations might bring.

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