The Communist Party of the Russian Federation is to use text messaging (SMS) to reach out to young people in Russia.
At a party plenary meeting outside Moscow that focused on propaganda – a word that in Russia evokes images of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution – the party’s first deputy chairman, Ivan Melnikov, said the Communists should turn to methods such as graffiti and cellphone messaging.
Melnikov said in comments broadcasted on the NTV television station that members of the party’s youth wing "could use telephones to send political jokes or rhymes, or attract attention to events – anything that motivates a person to send the message along to someone else.".
Many Russians – from savvy Moscow schoolchildren to their grandmothers in the countryside – are proficient at using short messaging service, or SMS. Known here as "esemeski," SMS is particularly popular among teenagers and young adults.
Judging by its website, the KPRF seems relatively techno-savvy, although the colour scheme is an irredemably dull grey and red. You can access it using a mobile phone using WAP, and they even used to have their own blog, although that seems to have vanished now.
I don’t really know much about how Russian parties use technology to reach out to voters and activists. Well, actually, I don’t know anything about it. Does anyone out there have a better insight? Is the KPRF a leader in using technology in Russian politics, or is it struggling to catch up?