The Read Write Web brought to my attention the plight of a Russian police officer who, rather than surrender to the rampant system of corruption, decided to go public and expose it. Now, corruption in Russia is hardly a surprise, and one can imagine that in a world before Internet video, anyone who tried to speak out against the system likely went missing permanently. However in 2009, you can literally reach a world-wide audience with something like YouTube, and Alexei Dymovsky did just that. While he was fired from the police force (for libel), he is calling for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Russian President Medvedev to follow through on their promises to fight corruption.
I highlight this story because I continue to be amazed at the democratization that YouTube enables. Anyone with a video camera – in this case Mr. Dymovsky and his brother-in-law – can speak their minds and, hopefully, bring about change in the world, or at least in their world. To date, this video has been seen by a million or more people, a level that certainly qualifies as “viral”. It is also on the public record that is YouTube, and if Mr. Dymovsky does indeed disappear, it makes it more difficult to explain to the world what happened. If Russia is truly willing to change its corruption problem, he could be a true hero. The world is watching, and more importantly the world is now able to watch!
I have been fascinated by the proliferation of news through the internet and how quickly things are shared. I think back to 2006 when Alexander Litvinenko, the former KGB soldier, was poisoned. Even in 2006 the spread of the news about his poisoning brought to the forefront the corruption within the the Russian government and police force. Even though attention to an event doesn’t mean necessarily lead to changes it demonstrates how the world is watching and monitoring in ways it never has before.
This video is a great example of another avenue in which digital news can be easily shared and even make an impact. It puts so much power in the hands of the individual to speak out. We live in exciting times.