On February 10, a meeting of the Commission on the Investigation of Foreign Interference in Russia's Internal Affairs was held at the State Duma. The meeting participants discussed the issues related to “activities of foreign actors aimed at promoting protest activities and involving minors in protest actions.”
Numerous examples of attempts of involvement of children and teenagers in unauthorized actions that took place on January 23 and 31 were shown at the meeting.
According to Vasilii Piskarev
Vasilii Ivanoviсh , the largest foreign IT companies like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, as well as TikTok and YouTube, “had been showing for quite a long time, as if on command, illegal content, in particular, containing calls to minors to participate in unauthorized protests in Moscow and in other Russian cities”.
“American social networks had been massively, invasively demonstrating fakes about the so-called “victims of peaceful protests,” the parliamentarian said and added that video containing fakes were among YouTube recommendations even after watching children’s animation movies.
“The Commission can provide examples that citizens of foreign countries, including citizens of Ukraine, are responsible for these illegal activities and fakes,” stressed the Chairman of the Commission.
The Commission also provided examples that some foreign media, including Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, TV channel “Current Time”, recognized as a foreign agent in Russia, Deutsche Welle, MBK-Media and some other media covered the protests “in a biased manner” and disseminated information encouraging citizens to participate in unauthorized actions. In addition, foreign NGOs and their employees sent several unequivocal massages.
“BBC posted on Twitter a map of Russian cities to show alleged mass protests with large number of participants to create a relevant attitude,” Vasilii Piskarev said.
According to the Chairman of the Commission, many children and teenagers were involved in the unauthorized actions, about 300 of them were detained. Members of the State Duma also paid attention to the facts that participants of the protests blocked off the streets and attacked police officers, while Western media and NGOs told only about “peaceful protests”.
“Organizers of the protests followed the so-called Belarusian scenario and created channels where they publish personal data of police officers, information about their families and relatives, and calls for bullying and violent actions,” said Vasilii Piskarev.
Meeting participants also paid attention to the facts of deliberate involvement of minors in such actions following the techniques used in the Western states, which are demonstrated at various seminars and trainings.
“Young people are always ready to take part in all kinds of trainings, courses and seminars. At such events, they show to young people particular tactics and methods how to confront the police,” said the Chairman of the Commission.
According to Vasilii Piskarev, members of the Commission had compared the protest activities in Moscow, Hong Kong and Belarus and identified the similarity of scenarios and actions of foreign instructors.
Members of the Commission also stressed that those actions were part of a single plan to destabilize the situation in the Russian Federation. “All the recent events and the well-known events that took place in summer 2019 with foreign participation are part of a single plan to destabilize the situation in Russia in 2021 and, of course, in 2024,” Vasilii Piskarev said.
Director of the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Maria Zakharova said that NATO and the European Union openly
interfered in Russia’s internal affairs by supporting the protest activities.
According to the Foreign Ministry’s Spokeswoman, management officials of Western IT companies had purposefully showed the content encouraging participation in actions and disseminating fakes. “There was a real incitement to participation of our citizens in illegal activities by deception and spreading disinformation,” said Maria Zakharova.
“Video clips containing, as they said, “violent” reaction of law enforcement officers had been shown, while all those materials that proved facts of provocations against our law enforcement officers were out the picture. All this kind of propaganda activities of the social networks were showed as top results in all web search engines,” she added.
Maria Zakharova emphasized that all the materials related to facts that foreign actors supported protest activities in Russia would be sent by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to international organizations. “We will translate all these materials into [foreign] languages, send them to international organizations and give instructions to our embassies to actively promote this issue,” she said.
Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights Anna Kuznetsova said: “The social networks, those sources of information that our children trust, so unexpectedly started to urge our children to break the law.”
She added restrictive measures were not enough to counter such influence. “It is necessary to develop a state program of creative, positive content for children and teenagers,” said Anna Kuznetsova. She added that psychological characteristics of children should be also taken into account.
The Commission developed several proposals, in particular, together with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to consider the possibility to address the management officials of such companies like TikTok, Facebook and Twitter on inadmissibility of violating Russian legislation, to make proposals to criminalize activities encouraging participation of minors in unauthorized mass events, and to introduce legislative initiatives on the responsibility of Russian citizens for training on organizing and conducting the so-called “color revolutions” by NGOs operating in foreign states and recognized undesirable in Russia.
Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights Anna Kuznetsova, Director of the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Maria Zakharova, representatives of the Russian Interior Ministry, the Prosecutor General's Office and the Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications (Roskomnadzor) took part in the meeting.