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How liberal outrage pushed a homophobic troll video to the top of Russia’s political agenda

Analysis Democratically minded Russians reacted in an ‘awfully stupid way’ by amplifying a pro-Putin advert uncritically, says prominent LGBT+ activist

Oliver Carroll Moscow

6 June 2020

In conversations with The Independent, a source close to the presidential administration with experience of off-book political campaigns described the video as an “attempt to influence” the official July 1 campaign. “Prigozhin tries to muscle in on every movement or vote, and he has enough money for all the experiments he pleases,” the source said. “He regularly, and without any orders from above, does his own thing.”

Tatyana Stanovaya, a non-resident scholar at the Carnegie Moscow Center and keen observer of elite politics, agreed that the video appeared to be Mr Prigozhin’s personal initiative. If the presidential administration had any role, she said, it was to turn a blind eye: “Over the last few years, the presidential administration has chosen to ignore many things, and is losing its monopoly on domestic politics as a result.”

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