Putin vs. The Internet

Tuesday, May 5, 2020
12:00 PM - 1:15 PM

Virtual Seminar

  • Leonid Volkov

This event is co-sponsored with the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law


Seminar Recording: https://youtu.be/cPaeCJiRWuM


About this Event: In 2011, the impact of the Arab Spring and the emergence of YouTube videos evidencing ballot stuffing during Russian parliamentary elections, which nearly led to a revolution in Russia, forced Kremlin strategists to suddenly realize that the Internet had become a major media — and a major power. This was the case not only in Russia, but everywhere on the planet. The Kremlin spent years and billions of dollars [or rubles?] to subdue this power, and  to learn how to make use of it. Was this crusade successful? Is it true that Putin is now capable of influencing elections everywhere in the world? Will he be able to cut Russia off from the global internet? And what are the troll farms trying to achieve? Leonid Volkov, an internet expert and the founder of the Internet Protection Society, the leading Russian digital rights NGO—and, simultaneously, Chief of Staff for Alexey Navalny, the leader of Russian opposition—is known for his optimistic view on these issues. While Putin is far from possessing almighty internet warfare, the situation has complex implications for Russian society and democracy.


About the Speaker: Leonid Volkov is a Russian politician and IT-expert. He oversees regional political operations, IT and electoral campaigns for the leader of Russian opposition Alexey Navalny. Previously Volkov served as campaign manager and chief of staff for Alexei Navalny’s 2013 mayoral campaign for Moscow, as well as for Navalny’s attempt to get registered for the 2018 presidential election. Leonid Volkov is a former deputy of the Yekaterinburg City Duma. He has over 20 years of experience as an IT professional, running and consulting several of Russia’s largest software firms. Since 2016 Leonid is active also as founder and chairman of the Internet Protection Society, a NGO focused on internet freedom and digital rights in Russia.