NewsMoscow cracks down on Navalny's QR code anti-Putin campaign

Moscow cracks down on Navalny's QR code anti-Putin campaign

Strike on Putin. They took over billboards with QR codes.
Strike on Putin. They took over billboards with QR codes.
Images source: © Kremlin
8:51 AM EST, December 9, 2023

In recent days, billboards featuring QR codes have sprung up on the streets of Moscow. These codes, when scanned, reveal information on Vladimir Putin's inaction and the ongoing war in Ukraine. City authorities noticeably rattled, have attempted to suppress this campaign orchestrated by Navalny's supporters.

The Moscow authorities have outlawed the use of QR codes on billboards as part of Navalny’s anti-Putin campaign. On Thursday, Navalny urged his supporters to vote for any candidate besides Putin in the elections scheduled for March 15–17.

The sweeping anti-Putin campaign in Moscow

Allies of Alexei Navalny utilized urban billboards erected for New Year celebrations to place QR codes. After scanning the code, internet users are redirected to a website that outlines Vladimir Putin's actions and promotes voting against him.

The independent news outlet Sota reports that city workers swiftly took down the billboards. On Thursday, December 7, Moscow city authorities sent a directive to advertising distribution companies, mandating the removal of the QR codes from billboards.

"QR codes essentially act as internet links that host various types of information. They are susceptible to changes that may infringe on the federal advertising law." - Ivan Shubin, head of the media department of the City Office

Shubin also noted recent 'hacker attacks' and 'website encroachments'. Previously, QR codes from posters redirected users to a different website promoting a nationwide arts contest.

As reported by Meduza, the QR code took users to 'neputin.org', a website dedicated to the anti-Putin campaign. Following the billboard activity, Roskomnadzor, the Russian agency overseeing telecommunications and internet resources, blocked access to neputin.org. However, Russians can still access the website using VPN.

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