Russian social network blocks community, as state officials crack down on Internet comments, following ethnic violence in Penza
The Russian social network VKontakte has blocked the community Chemodankovka v Ogne (Chemodanovka in Flames) over posts related to violence in Chemodanovka, a town in Russia’s Penza region. Trying to access the group now leads users to a message that says it’s been “blocked for inciting violent acts.”
On June 17, spokespeople for Russia’s federal censor, Roskomnadzor, told reporters that all information regarding the events in Chemodanovka “that the Attorney General’s Office has recognized as unverified” has been removed from social media. Officials have not clarified exactly what information has been banned.
According to the news website MBKh Media, the VKontakte community included comments from Chemodanovka locals expressing distrust in President Putin.
Penza Governor Ivan Belozertsev warned on June 16 against provocateurs who want to “sow panic among our population by planting blatantly inaccurate data disguised as real facts.” “Very unfortunately,” the governor said, “America and the West are flooding us with money to train people who get money from there. [...] They don’t [want] to solve the problem, but to destabilize the situation.”