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Russian media regulator collects social media posts about Putin's health

Wednesday, 8 February 2023, 18:37
Russian media regulator collects social media posts about Putin's health

Roskomnadzor [the Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media] monitors Internet posts about the health state of Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, every day. All publications they find are saved in a special table.

Source: the Agenstvo project; the BBC News Russian; Belarusian hackers Kiberpartizani (Cyberpartisans)

Details: Kiberpartizani managed to gain access to the information by hacking the computer system of the Major Radio Frequency Centre (GKRCC), a media regulating unit.

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Among the internal documents of Roskomnadzor, they found a few dozen tables under the same title "Critical State of Health of the President of Russia, V. Putin". The documents were created between April and October 2022.

Every finding is presented in an Excel table that contains posts about the Russian President’s health for each day. One review contains between 50 and 1400 posts and comments on social media, with corresponding links. Most posts were published on the Russian social media websites Odnoklassniki and VKontakte and on the Telegram messenger. Some posts included in the table are unrelated to Putin's state of health; these are his statements on the topic of medicine, or him giving awards to medics.

The number of posts found depends very much on the news agenda. The discussion of Putin’s state of health usually intensifies after this topic is mentioned by major media outlets or bloggers. For instance, on 27 April 2022, nine out of 153 messages were dedicated to the fact that Putin "was limping and making faces'' during a meeting with António Guterres, the UN Secretary General. The Sun newspaper (in the UK) wrote about this after the meeting.

The findings for 22 May 2022 consist of 594 messages. Almost all posts are about "Putin has cancer". These are mostly links to an interview with Valery Solovey, a Russian political scientist, who stated that the Russian President is suffering from some form of cancer.

Putin’s cancer has in fact been the only topic of monitoring since 1 June, with a total of 1360 messages. Nearly half of them is a link to the YouTube channel Obmanutiy Rossiyanin (A Deceived Russian), where this topic is being discussed.

October’s reports contain posts about Putin suffering from schizophrenia. The posts for 9 and 15 October had 3 and 5 posts respectively about the President having dementia.

BBC News Russian reports that another frequent topic addressed by Roskomnadzor that the monitoring has shown is mobilisation in Russia.

Roskomnadzor is also regularly messaging foreign social media platforms, demanding to unblock the accounts and posts of pro-Kremlin bloggers, from Instagram stories by Tatiana Navka, a Russian pro-Kremlin figure skater and wife of Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov to the accounts of Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the Wagner Private Military Company.

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