Staunton, August 17 – The Russian government has decided to increase its spending on online propaganda to promote civic identity and the moral values among young people by more than three times to ten billion rubles (140 million US dollars) and is dipping into its reserve funds in order to pay for this.
Moscow plans to support no fewer than 200 different internet projects before December 31. They will be selected by the Institute for the Development of the Internet on the basis of an open competition. Those proposals which have some other funding in addition will be given priority (rbc.ru/technology_and_media/17/08/2021/611a4df99a7947cec8087ef9).
The entire process, RBC reports, will be overseen by Sergey Kiriyenko, the deputy head of Putin’s Presidential Administration. It also says that the government has decided to take money from the government’s reserve fund so that it won’t exceed budgetary limits set by the Duma.
Both the increase and the willingness of the Kremlin to use reserved funds underscores how concerned those in power appear to be about the activities of their political opponents online and their sense that the government has so far been remarkably ineffective in countering the messages of others.