One of the Kremlin's pet new media projects has been a site called liberty.ru. It's been set up under the auspices of the Fund for Effective Politics, a think-tank headed by Gleb Pavlovsky, who has been instrumental in shaping the Russian ideology of the last decade. The official objective of liberty.ru -- as articulated by Pavlovsky -- has been to tap into the immense creativity of the Russian internet users and involve them in producing ideas that could make Kremlin's increasingly unappealing ideological package relevant to the younger generations. Liberty.ru was meant to become something like Russia's DailyKos or Talking Points Memo.
As far as I can judge, they are still quite far from achieving this ambitious objective (much like many other Kremlin-affiliated new media projects). However, they may have become useful on another front. As I was surfing the Russian web today, I stumbled upon a fascinating post on liberty.ru (in Russian). It was an announcement of an inagural event for a series of public lectures of..."Kremlin's School of Bloggers". And who was chosen the kick off this series? Alexey Chadayev, who is the younger version of Pavlovsky -- a very young (but already very seasoned) political technologist with a very good knowledge of the Internet. His lecture (which took place on May 14th) is pompously entitled "the information activities in the blogosphere: goals and objectives. View from 2009".
Apparently, more public lectures -- probably from other Kremlin insiders -- are to follow. Extensive "googling" for "Kremlin's school of bloggers" reveals at least one interesting project -- Polit-TV.ru -- a series of ideological YouTube videos, all branded with a funny Kremlin-shaped logo, which aim to rally up support for Kremlin's recent public campaigns (for example, here's their video supporting Medvedev's call to adhere to the historical truth and counter the foreign propaganda). What other projects should we expect from "Kremlin's school of bloggers"?
Evgeny Morozov, originally from Belarus, is a visiting scholar at Stanford and a Schwartz Fellow at the New America Foundation.