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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

REALITY BITES: Mayor's Site Latest Target Of Internet Hooligans




Some people don't have it easy -- no sooner do they go on the web than a whole lot of bad stuff happens to them.


Take the leader of the Fatherland party, Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov - he had hardly got his nice new site going (www.luzhkov.ru) when some unknown malefactors made a rival site (www.lujkov.ru).


The rival site is very similar to Luzhkov's. These guys stole the layout and even improved on it a bit: At the original luzhkov.ru, the letters on the first page are slightly crooked and the name is written rather clumsily. Web designer Artemy Lebedev would award it 10 sick bags. The fonts on the fake site are more neatly arranged, and even the quotation on the first page is more appropriate. Visitors who accidentally misspell Luzhkov's name and arrive at the wrong site won't immediately understand that page isn't the real one: Almost the same things are discussed on the fake site (opinions, friends, work) as on the genuine one - but in a rather different key, the humor of which Yury Mikhailovich would almost certainly be unable to appreciate.


This is called provocation.


Still, we'd better get used to it. We should remember that the Russian web has seen at least two major scandals recently. On Nov. 27 of last year, the server people.weekend.ru saw the "claw that scratches away the veil of secrecy and lies," with alleged secret service documents on Stepashin, Lerner, Kurginyan and Skuratov; so-called recordings of telephone conversations between Dyachenko and Berezovsky; the results of seized pager messages from Minkin, Khinshtein, Svanidze, Boiko and Rushailo; and a strange interview with a mysterious "MVD general" on the murder of Starovoitova. The most important of these have been preserved by the present editor of Lenta.ru, Anton Nosik, at www.cityline.ru/vi/kogot (he wrote about the kogot, or claw, at inter.net.ru/13/37.html).


On Feb. 18, Kogot-2 appeared at www.krasnobykow.com. This site was dedicated to organized crime in the Krasnoyarsk region and how Krasnoyarsk Aluminum Plant leader Bykov supposedly is involved. Now the dossier on Bykov is on the tabloid press site Rosmedia (rosmedia.webjump.com).


There were more incidents. The phantom agency Slukhovoe Okno, or rumor window, at www.rumours.ru, popped up in January to disseminate unproven rumors, and then vanished the next month. The Federal Security Service's verdict in the Grigory Pasko case abruptly found its way into cyberspace (full text on Rosmedia), and scandals flared over the destruction of Zavtra's homepage and Ruspatriot.com.


Now the man in the cap gets his turn.


Though it's sad that the Russian web is becoming yet another arena for political fights, one must remember that these kinds of battles are part of the very democracy so loved and supported by Internet newcomer Luzhkov.


Daniil Dougaev (daniel@sptimes.ru) writes about computers and the Internet for Kariera-Kapital, a Russian-language newspaper published in St. Petersburg by Independent Media.