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Navalny's video about 'Putin's palace' breaks Russian-language YouTube record and inspires tiktokers

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny's video "Palace for Putin" has received 57 million views on YouTube. This is despite the fact that the population of Russia, according to the latest data, is 146 million. It is noteworthy that so many people have watched it, the newspaper said. with the BBC.

Photo: Shutterstock

This is a record for Navalny's video. Previously, the championship was held by the film "He's not Dimon", released in 2016. It has collected 38 million views. That video told about the property of Dmitry Medvedev, who was then prime minister.

The investigation into "Putin's palace" was published on Tuesday, January 19. The two-hour film tells about a luxurious palace on the Black Sea coast near Gelendzhik. According to Navalny, this building belongs to Russian President Vladimir Putin and is funded by people from his circle.

On the day of its release, the investigation became the most watched video not only among Russian-language videos, but in all segments of YouTube.

After the release of the investigation in the Kremlin, he was called "unfounded statements, nonsense and compilation."

On January 22, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the Kremlin considered Navalny's film a "lie."

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“No clarification is needed here,” he said. - Just a few days ago, when this material appeared, we said that this was not true, that some innuendo that the president was related to some objects in Gelendzhik did not correspond to reality. It's just a lie. Putin has nothing to do with this. All compilation materials contained there are good quality "cranberries", which causes a large number of views. "

What is a palace

The official building area is 17 691 square meters. This size is not comparable to the mansions of Russian stars. The president also owns a guest house, a personal underground hockey stadium, several helipads, as well as an unfinished amphitheater and a personal gas station.

In addition, the entire territory of the property is fenced off with a huge fence, through which hardly anyone will be able to get through.

Also, the president has his own personal tunnel, through which he can get to the beach or take refuge in it in case of danger. And in the rock there is a so-called tasting window, behind which there is a room. It offers the best sea view, so you can sit in front of the window, drink wine and enjoy the picturesque views.

"Navalny and the film work independently"

Political scientist Gleb Pavlovsky called the huge number of views of Navalny's film "an amazing phenomenon" and "communication explosion."

“We cannot say how many of the millions of people who have watched are ready to take to the streets in support of Navalny,” he said. - We know that since the end of last year, Navalny took first place among students in the line of politicians, pushing Putin to second. As far as I understand, the authorities have these data, but they are not public. "

The siloviki, according to Pavlovsky, did not calculate their strength.

“They took responsibility for solving the problem, and they didn't. Moreover, they did not decide in such a way that there was a risk that they could not manage, the expert believes. - They took the leverage, pushing back those who in the political bloc said that the most correct thing in this situation is to ignore Navalny's return. Now the power structures are grabbing Navalny's employees, but are not controlling the process of mass popularity. "

“Navalny and the film work independently. They mobilize the opposition, and, apparently, its youth part. The result is a paradoxical situation: the blow to Putin is very strong, but it gives him back the opportunity to act independently again, "Pavlovsky explained.

“Why is the movie about Putin's real estate so wildly popular? The first is the packaging. In principle, if tomorrow Navalny does an investigation about McDonald's, it will take off in the same way, even more than an investigation into Putin and "Putin's palace," wrote the deputy director general of Transparency International - R in a column in VTimes.

“We see that Navalny’s scale is growing: first it is the State Duma deputies, then the Prosecutor General, the Prime Minister and so on. Now Putin. The media channel for promotion (Twitter, YouTube, social networks) is well exploited by Navalny, "the expert estimates.

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"This video broke the Russian-language YouTube record for the number of views in the first 48 hours after publication," a major international media network for working with influencers said.

"This is the fastest gaining video views over the past few years, even against the backdrop of hype around pop stars, Timati and Morgenstern," said a top manager of one of the largest advertising groups. The SMM director of Blacklight agency Anton Angel told the publication that "such a number of views in a few days is a fantastic figure for non-entertainment videos."

Why video is the first in popularity

“As I understand it, Navalny's video about Putin's palace has become the most popular non-entertainment video in Russian on YouTube in history today. Now the video has more than 42 million views (data for January 21). Why do I think that "Palace" has overtaken everyone, because there is no official YouTube data about it?

In public, I did not find the top of the most popular videos in Russian YouTube for all years or at least for 2020, there are only dynamic tops of music videos across Russia. There is, of course, the top 500 global YouTube, where there is a lot of "Masha and the Bear" from Russia. But just to enter this top, you need to collect at least 0,5 billion views.

Finally, there are much more useful in this situation tops of the most popular all videos in Russia separately for 2018, 2019, 2020, which were published by the local Google office. From these tops, it can be seen that in 2018 the most popular non-entertainment video - that is, not music, not a cartoon, not a stand-up, not a show - was Dudya's interview with Ivleeva (33,5 million views), in 2019 - his Beslan (22,5 , 2020 million), in 22,1 - his interview with Shcherbakov (XNUMX million views). To be sure, I also looked at the popular video plate that VTimes collected.

So, I think, "Palace" is now the leader in Russia among non-entertainment videos. "

Why TikTok became a protest social network

After the arrest of Alexei Navalny, the Russian segment of TikTok was rapidly politicized. Schoolchildren agitate to go to a rally in defense of a politician and against corruption - their videos with protest hashtags are gaining tens of millions of views, writes with the BBC.

“Two years ago, there was no politics at all on TikTok,” said Slava Varfolomeev, the author of the telegram channel. "A year ago, a video on a political topic was something out of the ordinary."

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Gradually, politics in the social network, popular among teenagers, became more and more, Slava recalls. Thus, Nikolai Bondarenko, a communist deputy of the Saratov Regional Duma, gained 386 thousand subscribers by posting videos on TikTok with strikes at the plant and emotional speeches in parliament.

But all this cannot be compared with the large-scale politicization of the social network in the last week - a wave of interest in politics was caused by Navalny's return to the country, his arrest and an investigation into the presidential palace in Gelendzhik.

"I go to TikTok, and I have every third video about" Putin's palace ", the detention of Navalny and a possible rally on January 23," he recalls.

“We cannot say that protest moods have appeared only now,” says Lyubava Zaitseva, head of influence marketing at the Picture advertising agency. - There have always been jokes about Putin, about Navalny, about lawlessness. Every time there was a rally, when Navalny was poisoned, when he had investigations, videos appeared about it. "

Lyubava herself devoted her TikTok to socio-political topics, and she managed to gain 25 thousand video views on this topic.

“But now everyone just picked it up: even those who have never been seen in a political position have now expressed it,” she stressed.

Who uses TikTok

TikTok has a reputation for being a social network for kids and teens, but that's a misguided stereotype. According to the October TikTok report, children and young people under 24 together make up 32% of users in Russia. A quarter of Tiktokers are between 25 and 34 years old. And 20% are even older: 35-44 years old. There are 25 million users in Russia who visit at least once a month.

Now every user has half of the feed devoted to protest - no matter what interests he has and what videos he watched before, Lyubava Zaitseva is sure.

Indeed, hashtag # 23 January has 70 million views, and another 29 million has a similar one # 23 January 2021. But the hashtag #butputin is less popular - it has been viewed 21 million times.

It's all about the TikTok recommendation system, which no other social network has.

“It takes only three hours to spend on TikTok - and he understands what content you like and what you can recommend. And there are so many videos about Navalny that the recommendations are no longer filtering this content so well: now even people for Putin will be shown videos about Navalny, ”Zaitseva explained.

She came to this conclusion when she looked at the comments on her most popular video: about Putin's palace, which was investigated by Navalny on January 20.

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“The comments are absolutely mixed. Some children, some people write "Actually, we are for Putin," someone writes, "How do you know what's inside?" It is thanks to TikTok that the younger generation will know who Navalny is, ”says Zaitseva.

What Tiktokers say about politics

The bulk of the new videos about Navalny and the protests are divided into several types.

One of them is this: schoolchildren and students take a portrait of Putin in the classroom from the wall or replace it with a portrait of Navalny.

The schoolgirl, who removed Putin's portrait from the wall and gained 3,7 million views, wrote on her Instagram that she was summoned to the principal. And the next day I was already uploading a video from the police station. The girl explained that the school had complained about her to the police, but the police department responded adequately - there were no complaints about the girl.

In some videos, tiktokers put protest music on their videos.

Wrong tips from TikTokers

Many videos are dedicated to preparing for rallies: how to dress and what to take with you.

This list is made by people who, apparently, have not been to the rallies before. They differ from the advice that volunteers and human rights defenders write before each uncoordinated rally.

For example, one after another, Tiktokers are advised to take milk with them to wash their eyes from tear gas. But tear gas has not been used to crack down on rallies in Russia in recent years, even if otherwise the police were very tough. Perhaps young people learned about milk from the experience of Belarusians: at the protests in Belarus, which have been taking place regularly since the summer of 2020, the police often used tear gas.

Another mistaken advice from tiktokers that you shouldn't take your passport with you to the rally. This advice is refuted in the same TikTok.

“Friends, if you do not have a passport, you can be detained for two days to establish your identity,” explains a political science student from the Higher School of Economics in his video. And he recalls that the usual term of administrative detention is three hours.

Another myth that Tiktokers have picked up in recent days is that allegedly Vladimir Putin allowed people to shoot at the rally. Someone warns about this in their videos and persuades the audience not to go so as not to die.

Who is against

Some tiktokers do not understand what happened and simply express amazement that their entire feed has been drowned in protest videos. So in recent days, a popular video format has emerged: people take pictures of their amazed faces at the sight of Putin and Navalny on their TikTok.

There are those who warn against rallies. Users put their videos on the same “protest” sound, for example, with the voice of Yulia Navalnaya, and then, watching everything filmed with this sound, it will be possible to find their video with an alternative point of view.

“Dear little children who want to take part in the rally. Have pity on yourself and your loved ones, ”the user says, confident that they will be“ just grabbed ”, and then teenagers will have problems with the security forces:“ Let adults who at least understand something in politics go to the rallies. ”

“I’m from Donbass and have already seen the war and blood,” the user says: she and her baby are looking at the camera sadly. - I'm not for anyone! I'm against! Against war and murder. " Her account is all about motherhood, and it didn't have any politics before.

Some commentators simply do not understand what the rally is about and why everyone is afraid of Navalny. “Well, because Navalny is from Germany, and before there was a war, everyone is afraid,” users who are clearly far from the topic explain to them in the comments.

Others who disagree with the general oppositional mood do not frighten the audience, but laugh: they shoot a video about how the whole TikTok is now raging, and on January 23, five people will go to protests.

On the subject: U.S. Congress calls for sanctions for Navalny's poisoning

Political analyst Tatyana Stanovaya draws attention to the fact that the authorities have no consensus on what to do with social networks and "objectionable" content in them. Laws allowing to shut down social networks have been adopted, but they do not work in practice. “On the one hand, the ground starts to burn under your feet, but on the other hand, there is no command for mass extinguishing,” she describes the position of officials at the sight of such a protest surge on TikTok.

“The fight against these tiktokas, videos and even the protests themselves is aimed at showing zeal in the eyes of Putin, and not actually containing the protest. They don't care what the efficiency is, but we will see super-fervor with high costs, ”explains Stanovaya.

In her opinion, this could end badly for the protesters: "According to the style of what the authorities are doing today, I get the impression that the mood is very tough."

Roskomnadzor against

Roskomnadzor on January 20 demanded that TikTok remove information "involving minors in illegal actions."

TikTok promised to cooperate with the Russian authorities back in 2019 - after Roskomnadzor announced that it was going to search the social network for child pornography and other prohibited content.

So far, no account blocking is known, but in the past, TikTok has blocked content: for example, beauty blogger Ferozu Aziz, who, under the guise of curling eyelash instructions, talked about the persecution of Uighur Muslims in China.

Olga Yaroslavskaya, Ombudsman for the Rights of the Child in Moscow, also spoke about the use of children for political purposes, and it was through social networks.

“Manipulators are hiding behind bot pages on social networks, they know the consequences. And kids usually don't know, '' she wrote on her Facebook. “They also don’t know the manipulation technologies themselves, they don’t understand how masterly political strategists use their age psychology, they don’t see which emotional points they press so that they want to destroy and deny everything. But they are already pressing on all social networks where young people actually live, all these technologies are evident. "

Read also on ForumDaily:

Navalny returned to Russia: he was detained at the airport and arrested

Navalny, Western countries, coronavirus: what Putin spoke about at the annual press conference

'I know everyone who tried to kill me': the names of those involved in the poisoning of Navalny are named

U.S. Congress calls for sanctions for Navalny's poisoning

Владимир Путин Alexey Navalny At home

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