Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

Putin: astroturfing

As Russia’s lovely, cuddly Vladimir Putin throws his weight around on the international stage, the BBC has been offering the chance to pose questions for the corrupt, dictatorial ex-KGB nutter via its Have Your Say Forums.It must be said, judging by the “readers recommended” comments the Russians have learned a fair amount about astroturfing – whole teams of agents desperately signing up with BBC accounts to ensure only the most banal questions reach the top. Only one question about Chechnya and nothing whatsoever about his merciless destruction of political opponents – but plenty of moaning about visa requirements to visit Moscow to see the ballet… All the rest (mostly soft balls about corruption and racism) seem designed for a Blair-like “Ah, I’m glad you asked that” policy announcement.