Alexei Navalny attacks Instagram for complying with Russian censors

Lena Tucker
February 16, 2018

He said the posts showed metals magnate Oleg Deripaska on a yacht with a Russian deputy prime minister, Sergey Prikhodko, and a woman who has described herself as an escort.

That Russia's media watchdog to demand that YouTube, owned by Google, and Instagram, owned by Facebook, take the content down. "In a rare tweet posted in English, Navalny wrote: "@instagram chose to comply with Russian illegal censorship requests and deleted some content about oligarch Deripaska.

The images included in Navalny's video were posted to Instagram in 2016 by Anastasiya Vashukevich, a 21-year-old model and escort whose professional name is Nastya Rybka and who claims she was paid to spend time with the men. As the immediate result of Deripaska's lawsuit, Roskomnadzor, Russia's communications regulator, added the postings of the video to its list of banned Web pages. Deripaska has been linked to Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign chairman, who is indicted for Russia's interference in the 2016 USA election.

Russia's most well-known opposition figure, Navalny has been forbidden from standing against Putin in an upcoming March election.

A February 14 deadline that Navalny said was set by Roskomnadzor passed without incident, but reports that was inaccessible for many in Russian Federation began flowing in on February 15.

He also obtained a court order demanding the removal of 14 Instagram posts and seven YouTube clips, and Roskomnadzor based its demand for the deletion of the materials on that order. He also quoted from her book "A Journal: How to Seduce a Billionaire" - in which, according to Navalny, Rybka refers to Deripaska as "Ruslan" and Prikhodko as "Papa".

The regulator warned that it would take action if he did not remove material alleging Deripaska engaged in unethical behavior by meeting with a Russian deputy prime minister on a yacht in 2016. Otherwise, access to the posts would be blocked in Russian Federation.

Navalny's producer Oxana Baulina said they have received a warning from YouTube and Google Russia offices ordering them to remove Navalny's video-investigation. According to the businessman's spokesperson, the plaintiffs violated Deripaska's privacy.

But Mr. Navalny's supporters asked why, if there had been no political motive, the agency did not just block the webpage carrying the investigation itself, rather than the entire website and some related ones.

Deripaska, in a statement last week, accused Navalny and others of spreading lies about him and was reported to have obtained a court order in southern Russian Federation to have the offending material removed.

With most news media outlets controlled by the government, Mr. Navalny's website is virtually his only vehicle for distributing his investigations of corruption among members of Mr. Putin's inner circle.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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